The Department of Defense launched an ambitious effort to transform its vast
network of back office mission support systems in 2001. It has since invested
large amounts of funding in the effort. What progress has the initiative achieved
to date? What has been its impact? Should the new Administration continue
the existing effort, terminate it, or revise its approach? This report provides
answers and insights into each of these key questions.
The authors of this report have extensive experience in assessing the
Department of Defense business modernization efforts. The authors describe
the wide-ranging transformation of defense mission support systems, which
started with more than 4,000 systems needing coordination. The effort
expended $440 million in its first four years and experienced criticism that little
was changing. Congress intervened in 2005, mandating a new governance
structure leading to a greater focus on results that matter to the warfighter.
The authors anticipate that the transformation effort will likely take another
decade. They offer a series of recommendations to strengthen the initiative’s leadership,
staffing, governance, and the management of business transformation.
While this report focuses on the experience of the Defense Department, it
also offers a broader set of lessons for large scale business transformation
efforts in other agencies. We hope that this report will be a useful resource
for both policy makers and public managers as they continue transforming
government to be more results-oriented, efficient, and productive.