DCMA zeroes in on new computing approach

Friday - 7/15/2011, 1:03am EDT

By Jason Miller
Executive Editor
Federal News Radio

The Defense Contract Management Agency is entering its busy season. And that means Jacob Haynes, DCMA's chief information officer, is facing extra pressure from both sides of the agency.

Haynes is planning for 2012 and beyond both from a budget and strategy perspective. But he also must make sure the more than 40 e-business systems, their corresponding databases, and DCMA's move as part of the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) effort, all are running smoothly.

"DCMA supervises and administers a majority of the contracts within DoD and it is a huge effort," he said. "We manage 352 prime contracts and $90 billion in spending. We monitor 23,000 contractors. We are a huge piece in the cog of the defense contracting system."

Haynes, who oversees a $110 million IT budget, said DCMA is making it easier for contracting commands that rely on the agency to find information and make better use of the e-business systems.

DCMA developed more than 60 systems over the years to meet specific office's needs, but are not being shared as well as the applications could be across the agency. DCMA senior officials asked Haynes to develop a way to not only make sure the tools are available, but, maybe more importantly, the data is accessible.

"About four months ago, we released our first version of the Enterprise Integrated Tool Set," he said. "It's almost a workflow with some intelligence to actually push actionable data to the desktop in a very useable dashboard."

Haynes said contracting commanders no longer have to search for new contracts assigned to their area of operation.

"Now when he signs into EITS, that data is pushed to him and it's sitting there on the dashboard saying he has three new contracts and the vendors. We are adding more actionable data such as how many corrective action reports about the performance of that vendor so that he could make some decisions on how much surveillance he would have to make in the future and adjust his workforce in the future."

EITS also is providing budget and training data for commanders.

Another high priority for DCMA is to move to zero client computers. This is the next step beyond thin client computers, Haynes said.

"A zero client device is the size of a small book and it sits on the desk and you plug all peripherals in to it, instead of having a hard drive or CD-Rom drive, all the things that forces mass in regular computer is done in the cloud," he said. "That includes the storage, the computing power and anything else. The device is just there messaging."

DCMA has tested zero clients and Haynes said the next step is to implement them in classrooms for 700-to-800 students.

"One key aspect of what we are trying to do is make our workforce more mobile," Haynes said. "In doing that, we have to figure out how our massive data can move through our enterprise. EITS and zero clients will help us to modify and move to mobile devices."

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