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Transforming the Pentagon, one business system at a time

by
June 14, 2011
Cyber Security, FedCyber Wire
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via Federal Times

Few executives in government likely have as challenging a job as Elizabeth McGrath.

As the Defense Department’s first deputy chief management officer, her task is to harmonize and consolidate the department’s thousands of business systems. And that means getting organizations across the department to change how they do virtually everything — whether that’s keeping electronic health records, accounting for spare parts or managing an employee’s personnel file.

Among her other tasks:

  • Writing and executing the department’s strategic management plan.
  • Consolidating the department’s thousands of financial management systems in order to produce an auditable financial statement by 2017.
  • Moving the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments toward a common health records system for both active-duty military personnel and veterans.
  • Tracking efficiency savings mandated last year by Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

In her quest to transform a department legendary for its obstinate and bureaucratic ways, McGrath applies extensive expertise (22 years of Defense Department experience in financial management, acquisition and logistics), the clout of a Senate-confirmed position, the backing of her boss, Deputy Secretary Bill Lynn and, on occasion, some sharp elbows. “I will never win Miss Congeniality,” she says half-jokingly.

There is one other, more compelling factor at play, she adds: tightening budgets.

“I’ve been [at DoD] for a very long time, this is sort of the tightest it has felt to me from a fiscal perspective that I can remember, so we’re all taking a really hard look at every function,” she said.

Continued here.