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Driving Acquisition with Data, Not Documents

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Journal article

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The Department of Defense DoD builds the most technologically complex weapons and communications systems in the world today, yet the government officials charged with overseeing these programs rely mostly on manual, paper-based processes to create the acquisition plans and analyses needed to manage these programs. Not surprisingly, collecting information for the dozens of acquisition documents required during a program s life cycle is labor intensive and time consuming. Documents shuttle back and forth among groups of creators, reviewers, approvers and other stakeholders, often introducing unintended but consequential inaccuracies as they add their personal and positional insights when refining these program plans. Version control can be a nightmare. Worst of all, decision makers are unable to fully exploit the valuable troves of program information because the process creates innumerable separate and often conflicting data sources, rather than authoritative and searchable information sources. The Pentagon s Better Buying Power and Better Buying Power 2.0 initiatives advocate reducing costs and improving decision making by eliminating unproductive acquisition processes and bureaucracy. A sure way to achieve these goals is by moving from current paper-based, document-centric acquisition processes to a data-centric, IT-enabled strategy. In such a strategy, program officials would create authoritative text once and then promulgate it through the use of a scalable data structure, XML tagging and indexing, Web services and federated output scripts. A Web-based process not only would streamline document creation and improve content accuracy, but would strengthen decision making by giving DoD officials access to the most up-to-date information more quickly and easily. It would also move the focus of reviews from a scrutiny for minor inconsistencies and formatting problems to a highhigh-valuehange regarding meaningful content.

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  • Administration and Management
  • Information Science

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