GAO: DOD's E-Commerce Strategy at Risk

WASHINGTON (07/20/2000) - The U.S. Department of Defense has not completed its e-commerce road map, putting at risk its vision of using e-commerce to transform the way it does business, according to a General Accounting Office report released Tuesday.

Key elements of DOD's road map are missing, such as an e-commerce implementation plan, an e-commerce architecture, a determination on how to manage the e-commerce program and comprehensive e-commerce security measures, the report said.

"Without these elements," the GAO said, "the department does not have the unifying direction needed to carry out its electronic commerce program."

GAO recommended that DOD put in place a departmentwide e-commerce plan and architecture, as well as ensure that realistic time frames and costs are established.

It also recommended that the members of a proposed e-commerce board of directors be given authority to promote e-commerce initiatives and that the Joint Electronic Commerce Program Office be given clear lines of authority and funding to roll out the program departmentwide.

GAO said that some DOD e-commerce initiatives have been successfully implemented, such as the Central Contractor Registration system, which provides a central database of vendors that conduct business with DOD. But other systems, such as the Defense Travel System, have been delayed by software problems. The system will overhaul the department's temporary duty travel administration process.

In response to the report, DOD said it "has a series of ongoing actions in support of the report's recommendations" and that the DOD chief information officer is ensuring that those actions are implemented across the department.

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