Office of the DoD Deputy Chief Management Officer and their Agility Forum

The Department of Defense Office of the Deputy Chief Management Officer has a long running history of seeking out the best ideas for improving DoD oversight and management of department financial management systems, operations and controls. The office has a mandate to transform the way DoD does business. Here is a bit more from their website:

It was clear that the Department’s problems could not be solved simply by ‘fixing’ financial systems, since financial systems are consumers of the transactional data routinely produced as part of the Department’s larger business operations. To get at the root causes of these data problems, the Department expanded its review to encompass the many other systems and control processes that feed information into DoD financial systems. This expanded effort, renamed the Business Management Modernization Program (BMMP), focused on standardizing both data quality and flows for DoD-wide business operations through the development of a Business Enterprise Architecture (BEA). Besides defining common business requirements and structures, the BEA was to provide a blueprint for the end state of successful business transformation—the “to-be” environment for business systems.

Emerging results indicated the Department needed both a broader solution set and full-time management of business transformation activities to sustain reform momentum. Accordingly, Section 2222 of the FY 2005 NDAA directed that the Department institutionalize the BEA and provide Congress an enterprise transition plan that details a schedule for divesting legacy business systems and fielding new enterprise solutions. Section 2222 also established a new governance process for business systems in the Defense Business Systems Management Committee (DBSMC). This senior board, chaired by the Deputy Secretary, certifies that each new business system investment of more than $1 million is both compliant with the BEA, and is needed to support a priority national security capability. The scope of Section 2222 requirements was later expanded as part of the FY 2010 NDAA to ensure that appropriate Business Process Reengineering occur for each defense business system investment.

To further institutionalize the Department’s focus on defense business transformation, in October 2005 the Deputy Secretary of Defense established the Business Transformation Agency (BTA). The BTA was given the responsibility for integrating the work of the Department’s Principal Staff Assistants across the Department’s core business mission activities. Additionally, the BTA was given acquisition oversight of 18 of the Department’s enterprise business programs.

In November 2006, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) proposed establishing a permanent DoD official with the authority, experience, and tenure to drive change and be accountable for overseeing the Department’s business operations. While crediting Departmental progress to date, the GAO said that a Chief Management Officer (CMO) was needed to reconcile the competing priorities that could impede DoD’s progress in its transformation efforts.

In May 2007, the Secretary of Defense used his discretionary authority to designate the Deputy Secretary of Defense as the CMO of the Department of Defense. Subsequently, the Congress codified the Department’s action in the FY 2008 NDAA, formally acknowledging the Deputy Secretary of Defense as DoD CMO, establishing a new Principal Staff Assistant position – the Deputy Chief Management Officer (DCMO) to assist the Deputy Secretary, and naming the Under Secretaries of the Military Departments as CMOs of their respective organizations.

The Department formally established the DCMO through a DoD Directive on October 17, 2008. As part of this Directive, the Department assigned the DCMO responsibility for better synchronizing, integrating, and coordinating the business operations of the Department of Defense to ensure optimal alignment in support of the warfighting mission. Additionally, the Directive gave the DCMO specific duties in the areas of strategic planning, performance management, process improvement, and defense business systems oversight. Since that time, the DCMO’s responsibilities have continued to grow.

On July 1, 2010, the Senate confirmed Elizabeth McGrath as the Department’s first DCMO. Ms. McGrath brings extensive experience to the position, having previously served for over 20 years as a DoD civil servant and member of the Senior Executive Service.

On August 9, 2010, the Secretary of Defense (SECDEF) announced the elimination of the Business Transformation Agency (BTA) and the transfer of Policy Integration and Oversight functions and activities to the DCMO. By centralizing the management of business operations improvements in one organization, the DoD could obtain increased integration of its business operations and greater efficiencies. On October 1, 2011, the BTA was disestablished and the DCMO began operating as a new organization with increased capabilities.

The organization’s website also reveals a key fact which underscores for me how important this office is. The department has taken one of their most talented, greatest professionals and assigned them him to this office. Mr. David Wennergren is the DoD Assistant Deputy CMO. Anyone who has ever encountered Dave and had an opportunity to observe how he functions will tell you he gets results. He is work class best and is an exemplar for all in federal service.

Improving DoD management and oversight is a team sport, and the team is lead by the Honorable Ms Elizabeth McGrath. One of the key mechanisms they use to help keep new ideas coming from the extended team and help people get info is a forum, the Defense Business Agility Forum. This speaker series is designed to enable DoD leadership and staff to hear from a range of experts and motivationsl speakers on their perspectives in a arange of fields that are relevant to DoD missions. The series features speeches and presentations by DoD leaders, other Federal agency representaties, industry professionals, and members of the academic community.

For more on the forum see:

I believe this forum will be playing an increasingly important role in helping the department exchange views on Big Data and other IT analysis topics.

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