As BTA closes Friday, DoD continues to foster strategic goals

Thursday - 9/29/2011, 5:30am EDT

Jared Serbu, DoD reporter, Federal News Radio

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As the Defense Department starts the new fiscal year Saturday, it will be pursuing some new business goals. And they'll be accompanied by a new level of accountability for meeting the seven objectives for fiscal 2012.

The Pentagon's Strategic Management Plan is an annual document designed to align DoD's business practices with the overarching goals laid out in the Quadrennial Defense Review, the Pentagon's regular study on military strategy.

Some of the areas are updates to goals in previous years' plans, but there are also some new priorities on this year's list.

The annual report first grew out of a Congressional mandate in the 2008 DoD authorization bill, but has since taken on added importance as a priority-setting document for the department, said David Wennergren, DoD's assistant deputy chief management officer.

"One of the things I'm really proud about as it's grown and morphed over the years is the commitment of the senior leadership team at DoD to its development," Wennergren said in an interview with Federal News Radio. "It took a number of meetings with the deputy secretary of defense, the deputy chief management officer, the undersecretaries of the military departments who are their chief management officers, the undersecretaries of defense who are the functional owners of the department, to actually lay out what our strategic business priorities are. And how we will then align our activities and measure our results against that set of imperatives."

One is to increase the department's energy efficiency, both on its bases and among its deployed forces. That follows the recent creation of a new director of operational energy for DoD, and the department's first-ever report on operational energyearlier this year.

Also new on the list is the goal of rebuilding and using end-to-end business processes, a topic the office of the Deputy Chief Management Officer has championed.

And one of last year's workforce goals has been stated differently this year. Last year's plan called for enhancing the civilian workforce. This year's version aims at "rightsizing" the mix between military, civilian and contractor personnel during a time of constrained resources.

Other goals include:

  • Strengthening financial management,
  • Building secure and agile information technology capabilities,
  • Increasing the buying power of the department and
  • Creating agile business operations that support contingency missions
DoD is assigning each of the seven areas to a senior "goal owner" within the department, and that ownership will bring accountability, Wennergren said.

"You need a set of goals, but then you need explicit performance measures that help you actually measure the progress of your plans," he said. "The strategic management plan has those measures in them. Those measures begin at the very top of the organization and then they drive down to how individual organizations contribute, until you get down to how individual leaders and individual employees contribute. And that has to find its way all the way down into performance plans."

Also this week, DoD will officially dismantle the agency that was in some ways the forerunner to the Deputy Chief Management Officer. Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates identified the closure of the Business Transformation Agency as part of the efficiency initiatives introduced last year. Wennergren has been wearing a second hat over the past nine months as BTA's director, preparing it for closure this coming Friday.

"That's been a lot of hard work," he said. "There are a large number of really dedicated people doing really dedicated work, and their legacy will live on."

The various missions the agency had are being split between two DoD organizations. One set, the responsibility for developing and improving some of the department's large back-office IT systems will go to the Defense Logistics Agency.

"DLA already manages a lot of big business systems, so we'll build on the synergies of that organization, putting this other set of enterprise business systems with the portfolio that DLA has already had," he said. "Then the rest of the mission of BTA will come to the DCMO."

The DCMO's office is inheriting the policy functions of the Business Transformation Agency, such as business enterprise architecture, acquisition oversight, portfolio management and investment reviews.

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