Defense CIO: Take Time to Do Outsourcing Right

The Defense Department's acting chief information officer warned that defense agencies might be moving too rapidly to outsource their information technology functions without having enough in-house experts to lead large projects.

In a keynote address May 30 at the Army Small Computer Program Status Review conference in Baltimore, Linton Wells said a study of commercial outsourcing by Johns Hopkins University found the companies that succeeded had competent in-house staffs to oversee the outsourcing projects.

"We have to be careful we're not rushing to do it," said Wells, who also serves as assistant secretary of defense for command, control, communications and intelligence. "We need to make sure we're not losing track of who's providing our parts and our service."

Wells predicted that, in many cases, outsourcing would not produce the huge dollar savings agencies expect. He also advised closely examining a potential outsourcing vendor's security plans.

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