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Change Is Afoot in Defense IT Procurement-Maybe

January 27, 2011
By Robert K. Ackerman
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If people want changes in the way the Defense Department procures and manages information technology (IT), then it may be time for them to put their money where their mouths are. The department is proposing sweeping reforms that will revolutionize every aspect of IT procurement and management. If successful, these reforms conceivably could address all of the IT acquisition complaints that have been echoing across the department. All this effort needs is a buy-in from all of the players. Elizabeth A. McGrath, Defense Department deputy chief management officer, and David Wennergren, Defense Department assistant deputy chief management officer, described to a luncheon audience how their office's proposed new approach to IT procurement would be a "radical change" across the board. Calling it an IT consolidation road map, the two officials said the changed approach would place an emphasis on transparency both to improve performance management as well as build trust. McGrath explained, "We are looking to break down the existing process for IT procurement to have more modular, faster delivery of these capabilities." She added that currently, "we're not hitting the capabilities in the first five years." These vast changes proposed by the office will require all participants to do their part, or the effort will fall short. "It's a matter of choice," McGrath declared. "If we decide we won't, then we are detracting from the department's goals. "I'm not painting a picture of doom and gloom," she continued. "The opportunities are sitting right there in front of us."

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