As project manager for Army Enterprise Systems Integration Program (AESIP), in the Army Program Executive Office Enterprise Information Systems, Col. Harry Culclasure oversees a portfolio of Army business management programs. Among them are two of the service’s major enterprise resource planning (ERP) initiatives: the Global Combat Support System-Army (GCSS-Army) and the Logistics Modernization Program. Col. Culclasure recently sat down with Federal Times Senior Staff Writer Amber Corrin to talk about the programs, their evolution over time and where they’re headed under modernization.
As project manager for Army Enterprise Systems Integration Program (PM AESIP), in the Army Program Executive Office--Enterprise Information Systems, Col. Harry Culclasure oversees a portfolio of Army business management programs. Among them are two of the service’s major Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) initiatives: the Global Combat Support System-Army (GCSS-Army) and the Logistics Modernization Program. Col. Culclasure recently sat down with senior staff writer Amber Corrin to talk about the programs, their evolution over time and where they’re headed under modernization.
Let’s focus first on GCSS-Army. What exactly is the program and what does it do?
GCSS-Army handles supply operations, property books, maintenance and financial operations. It enables business processes for receipt, store, sale and issue of commodities consumed in tactical and installation operations.
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The property book operations enable business processes to sustain accountability of assigned tactical equipment, while maintenance operations allow for business-supporting tactical and installation maintenance activities. The financial operations provide financial systems-of-record for expenditures at tactical and installation operations.
What are the goals of these programs: GCSS-Army, LMP, AESIP? How have those goals changed over time?
The goal is to provide the Army with integrated and auditable logistics and financial business systems that provide soldiers enhanced capabilities for supporting installation and combat operations. GFEBS has deployed these capabilities across the Army. GCSS-Army is being fielded in two principle waves with retail supply and finance currently being fielded. Property book and maintenance fielding will commence in fourth quarter of fiscal 2015.
While our mission goal of delivering a quality logistics business system to the Army has not changed, our game plan has. The baseline enterprise capability the Army has been able to deliver has allowed unprecedented integration to occur from the national to tactical levels of logistics business operations.
Now, instead of over-reaching to deliver everything at one time, we are focusing on delivering increments of usable capability building on the baseline we have established.
As for future goals, the near-term approach will allow us to deliver and transition capabilities to the national and tactical levels on a continuous basis. The long-term approach has to be carried forward into subsequent increments to enhance and expand on the enterprise baseline capabilities that are already deployed.
I think we have learned from our past experience that actually delivering increments of useable capability rather than all at once – taking a modular approach – that’s the way to go.
In the past, DoD ERPs have definitely faced a lot of challenges and criticism – it hasn’t been the easiest path. What is different now, at least as far as your programs are concerned? And how has the criticism shaped your strategy?
The challenges are still there. But instead of trying to boil the ocean, we have focused our efforts on logical increments of useable capability and building on those successes. This approach allows us to show tangible results in better defined periods of time at reasonable costs.
We’ve had a number of [Government Accountability Office], DoD Inspector General and other auditors all seeking to identify risks and weaknesses. We’ve taken this as constructive critique and it’s intended that we would use these findings to mitigate risk, reduce weaknesses and to ensure we are on track and building the best systems we can with the resources available.
I think we have, and it really goes back to how we look at what we’re going to deliver each time. It’s that modular approach of what we can guarantee delivery of in that increment of performance.
How do your programs – in this evolution that we’ve talked about – fit in with some of these broader DoD initiatives, especially as it relates to acquisition, Better Buying Power, enterprise IT services, and then with audit readiness as well?
The Army ERP programs are well aligned and contributing to achieving the goals of numerous DoD initiatives. The ERP programs are implementing enterprisewide IT solutions across the entire Army to bring Army supply logistics and financial processes in compliance witbrbh DoD and broader U.S. government mandates. For example, these programs are the core systems that will enable the Army to achieve financial auditability by the end of fiscal 2017.
The Army ERP Services Acquisition is implementing numerous Better Buying Power efficiencies through strategic sourcing, reducing indirect costs, increasing utilization of small business, maximizing competition, shortening award cycle times, and centralizing contract planning and administration.
Our audit-readiness efforts are focused on bringing an enterprise solution to our programs by partnering with GFEBS and Integrated Personnel and Pay System-Army to share lessons learned and develop common internal controls, including policies, processes, procedures, over financial systems. This approach supports the objectives of the Army Manager’s Internal Controls Program (MICP), and will facilitate the financial statement auditors’ understanding as they conduct their audits across the ERPs.
There’s another program that I wanted to ask about, the Army Shared Services Center-Organic System Integrator. Maybe you can tell me a little bit about what that is, what’s the goal in transitioning the ERPs to this and what’s the timeline for that?
ASSC moves the responsibility for architecture, engineering, development and sustainment of the enterprise system under the control of a government agency. This is a departure from recent thinking in which the government provided a lead system integrator, a statement of objectives and allowed a contractor to develop with minimal oversight.
The government retains life cycle control over the complete solution from architecture, engineering, development through sustainment and retirement. Contractor support would be there for specific areas under the direct supervision of the government. This model has proven to be more cost-effective and flexible in delivering military capability.
As far as our timeline, we started this about three years ago and it will be a phased movement of resources and personnel into the ASSC over the next several years. The AESIP Hub transition is complete; LMP is currently transitioning with final closure in fiscal 2017; GCSS-Army is conducting transition analysis and should transition by fiscal 2018.