The Air Force will audit with the systems it has rather than the ERPs it wants
The Air Force will have to meet an accelerated goal for audit readiness by the end of calendar year 2014 with the legacy systems it has in place rather than the massive enterprise resource planning systems it's been developing, acknowledged Jamie Morin, Air Force comptroller.
The Defense Department is under a congressional mandate to have auditable books by fiscal 2017; in October, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told services and DoD agencies to achieve audit readiness for their statement of budgetary resources earlier, by 2014.
"Our effort now focuses on achieving audit readiness within our legacy systems, which is an effort we are working aggressively on, but remains an uncertain piece," Morin said. He testified April 18 before the Senate Armed Services subcommittee on emerging threats and capabilities.
Manual workarounds will be required to meet the 2014 goals, Morin said, but not a "large scale, army of auditors manual approach." The workarounds will happen mostly to reconcile by hand numbers between systems that aren't interoperable, he added.
Air Force ERPs have had a rocky implementation history. In particular, an Oracle logistics system known as the Expeditionary Combat Support System has been problematic, with the Air Force considering alternatives to its deployment. The DoD will present to Congress in a month the results of the ECSS alternatives study, he added.
ECSS has racked up costs of more than $1 billion since the Air Force first obligated money for the program in August 2005.
"I'm personally appalled at the limited capabilities that program has produced relative to the amount of investment," Morin told the subcommittee.
Meanwhile, the Defense Enterprise Accounting and Management System ERP (also Oracle)--launched in 2003 as a joint effort between the service and Transportation Command--will become fully operational in 2016 "or thereabouts," said David Tillotson, Air Force deputy chief management officer.
DEAMS received Milestone B authority in January, i.e., the go-ahead to deploy the system on a wider scale. The ERP is currently deployed at Scott Air Force Base, Ill; it should be installed at another five bases in the coming fiscal year, Morin said.
- go to the hearing webpage (prepared testimonies and webcast available)