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Public Statements

Business Process Modernization at the Department of Defense - Joint Hearing Subcommittee Hearing of the House Government Reform Committee

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


July 7, 2004 Wednesday

HEADLINE: JOINT HEARING OF THE GOVERNMENT EFFICIENCY AND FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT SUBCOMMITTEE AND THE NATIONAL SECURITY, EMERGING THREATS AND INTERNATIONAL SECURITY SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE HOUSE GOVERNMENT REFORM COMMITTEE

SUBJECT: BUSINESS PROCESS MODERNIZATION AT THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

CHAIRED BY: REPRESENTATIVE TODD RUSSELL PLATTS (R-PA)

WITNESSES: LAWRENCE LANZILLOTTA, UNDER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE COMPTROLLER (ACTING), DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GREG KUTZ, DIRECTOR OF FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT AND ASSURANCE, GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE

LOCATION: 2247 RAYBURN HOUSE OFFICE BUILDING, WASHINGTON, D.C.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN (R-TN): Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you to all of you for being here. I will say, you know, we had a hearing last year pertaining to some of these issues, and I think it's disappointing to see there's not a lot of progress or energy that has gone forward in correcting some of this. Let's continue to talk for just a moment about this leadership structure and the type of leadership structure that would be necessary to implement in order to go through the business process modernization, because I think that's really important.

And the accountability, Mr. Kutz, as you just said, somebody has got to be the one who is responsible and held responsible and accountable, not only to us but to the American people and the taxpayers, for actually putting something in place. So let's talk about that for a moment. Mr. Kutz, I'd like to hear from you, and Mr. Lanzilotta, from you also, as to what you see the leadership structure looking like to carry this forward.

And you're talking about a decade or seven years, preferably, but, you know, how would that-how would that go through an evolution?

MR. KUTZ: With respect to the structure, I mean, again, I think that this would be the point person, they would report directly or be part of the box that says secretary of Defense. They would have responsibility over the business side versus the mission and the weapons side of the Department of Defense. And again, as Mr. Lanzilotta said, it would require certain legislative drafting and organizational responsibilities to be clarified, but they would be someone who, again, would have a set term for sustained leadership purposes, and they would be brought in with a certain type of background.

You're looking for someone that Secretary Rumsfeld himself or whoever the secretary is is going to have to make a call and get someone with certain special qualifications who's going to want to come to the government, and money's not going to be the issue for them, they're going to want to make an impact on the government, and this is certainly one of the biggest challenges you could possibly envision for someone from the private sector to come in and actually try to do.

REP. BLACKBURN: So you envision it being a team that is brought in from the outside and not utilizing talent that exists within?

MR. KUTZ: Well, I think the leader would be someone brought from the outside, but I think that they would be a combination, they may bring some of their own people in to serve certain functions, but there are a lot of talented people within the Department of Defense. And I've looked across the government, they have some of the very best people in the federal government and in the private sector I've dealt with. So there are a lot of good people in the Department of Defense.

There aren't a lot of people that have experience at this in the Department of Defense, there are probably better people outside that have experience leading these kinds of transformational efforts.

REP. BLACKBURN: Okay.

MR. LANZILOTTA: Actually, Mr. Towns brought up some of the concerns or some of the issues that I think that need to be wrestled with. It is a colossal effort, and it may be too big for one guy. And I'm just going to give you observations from working on this for the last three-plus years.

I found that the CIO has to be a strong player in this effort. And if we don't have a strong CIO with a marriage with the comptroller, because what that allows us to do, it allows us to get the technical expertise from somebody who was familiar with the IT business, familiar with building IT systems and brought that expertise in along with the-I don't want to say the threat of money, but the ability of somebody to sit down there and say, look, sometimes you just have to be unreasonable with people to get a point across, to make a go.

This is what we are going to do. And if you don't do this, we are going to take your money. But you don't find that-what I have a hard time with, you don't find that one individual that brings the total package together. It's got to be a marriage of certain skills.

When I was looking for a program manager to head this program, I advertised for two years to try to find a guy that brought the skills that's necessary that I thought to manage a program like this. I finally had to settle on somebody-not settle. The person I-let me edit the record and get it straight right from the very beginning. (Laughter.) You know, we found a very good individual. But I set my goals too high because there wasn't anybody in private industry that had the type of experience to deal with something of this magnitude.

And I talked to CIOs of private enterprise. I don't want to mention names, but, you know, I went around some of the largest corporations. I went to a large conglomerate looking for help, because I figured a large conglomerate was most similar to the department where they were trying to manage all the information systems from all the various sectors that this conglomerate had-and I think there was like 200 different sectors that this conglomerate had-to try to get some ideas of what the qualities of the person that we could try to do.

This individual that we're trying to get-government does have good people. Government has some of the very finest people. But this particular individual has to have a certain set of skills that are very difficult to find. And that's one of the concerns about trying to get one of these guys. It's colossal. Huge. I found that the only way I think you can attack this is to break it up in pieces. I think it's a marriage. I think it's a conglomeration of people that have to come together to make this work. And I don't think if you create another layer of bureaucracy in the Pentagon for operating versus operational versus the other staff that you're going to make any progress, because the staffs will just fight each other all the time. They just won't go anywhere.

I agree in concept. I just have questions or concerns on how it's implemented, because I guess maybe after three years in the beginning I became a little jaded at how things worked.

REP. BLACKBURN: I guess we'll have a chance-okay.

REP. PLATTS: Yeah. We'll come back around for more questions.

REP. BLACKBURN: Thank you, sir.

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