DISA needs help to clean up its books

Efforts by the Defense Information Systems Agency to clean up its financial books could mean money for its contractors.

That was the message delivered by Jimaye Sones, DISA's chief financial executive, at DISA's "Forecast to Industry" conference in Washington yesterday.

"We are cleaning up our contracts and getting our cash reconciled with Treasury so that we know what we have to spend," Sones said.

He added that the financial examination process found millions of dollars in DISA contracts that were obligated but never dispersed over a five to six year period. "That is money we can take back to write more contracts and get you more business," Sones said.

He said defense contractors can help DISA in two ways. "If you've got contracts out there and you know the deliverable has been completed, let the program managers know," Sones said. "This is money that can be de-obligated."

Contractors also can help DISA by invoicing their work promptly and by pushing the payment process through the system. Contractors often wait six months or more to get paid, Sones said.

"Otherwise Congress criticizes us for not executing programs," he said. "Because of the money crunch and the war effort, Congress is not looking at what was obligated but what was spent. If deliverables were received but not paid for in a timely manner they consider it to be unexecuted. Then they take that money and give it to someone else who can spend it."

Evelyn DePalma, chief of DISA's procurement organization, who spoke at the same event, said that her shop closed out $19.5 million in contacts this year.

Sones added that DISA is planning to issue an request for proposal in December for an accounting firm to audit DISA's books. The agency's goal is to receive a clean audit opinion by June 2008.

Peter Buxbaum is a freelance writer in Bethesda, Md.

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