Lawmakers to DOD: Build EA-compliant systems or else

Congress has added bite to its bark that the Defense Department build or buy systems compatible with the DOD business enterprise architecture.

Beginning Oct. 1, the Defense comptroller will face violations of the Antideficiency Act and be subject to criminal penalties and fines if he authorizes funds for any system worth $1 million or more that's not compliant with the architecture, said Marilyn Fleming, chief architect for the department's Business Management Modernization Program.

Lawmakers included the language in the fiscal 2005 Defense authorization bill signed by President Bush last month. Some people think the $1 million threshold is too low for Defense systems, Fleming said. But it will help DOD ensure that all its systems meet architecture standards, she said.

"The goal is an unqualified auditing opinion," Fleming said Wednesday at GCN's 2004 Enterprise Architecture Conference in Washington. The department is shooting for a clean financial audit by 2007?a goal that if achieved would be DOD's first unblemished financial review.

Defense has faced stinging criticism from Congress and federal overseers as the number of systems in the project has ballooned from 2,274 to more than 4,700. Many systems are duplicative and unable to communicate, lawmakers pointed out.

Congress also has threatened to cut funding if systems are incompatible with the department's architecture.

The business enterprise architecture is "the largest transformation effort in government or industry," Fleming said. Because it is unparalleled in its management scope, DOD has no models to pattern the program after, she said.

The Antideficiency Act makes it illegal for government agencies to use funds for projects outside authorized purposes.

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