DoD Opens Joint Electronic Commerce Office
By Rudi Williams
American Forces Press Service
FORT BELVOIR, Va., Jun. 11, 1998 When Defense Secretary William S. Cohen officially opened the Joint Electronic Program Commerce Office here June 5, he said the office is where miles of paperwork are going to stop.
Scottie Knott of the Defense Logistics Agency and Diann McCoy of the Defense Information Systems Agency co-direct the new office. Cohen's November 1997 Defense Reform Initiative called electronic commerce -- computerized buying and selling -- a "best business practice" that will help streamline DoD's management and support structures.
"We realize we have to think anew, act anew and organize anew," Cohen said. He called electronic commerce a step toward doing business better, faster and cheaper.
The secretary said the office will put DoD on the cutting edge of electronic commerce. The office will help move the department to paperless contracting for logistics. He said the office will allow DoD to realize its goal of using the IMPAC (government Visa card) for 90 percent of purchases under $2,500. "[This office will] expand the use of electronic catalogs, electronic shopping malls and put buying decisions into the hands of people who need the products," Cohen said.
"Your innovations are going to take our department and our forces into the next century," he said to the assembled workers. "We understand this is not a modern nicety, it's a military necessity. The price of failure would be extraordinarily high because we're not only cheating the taxpayer, we'll find it increasingly difficult to keep today's force ready to fight. And without your work, we [will] find it virtually impossible to equip that force of tomorrow."
America stands at a pivotal point in history, a time of great, rapid change in politics and technology, as well as a time of tremendous danger and a great opportunity, Cohen said.
"If our troops are going to succeed in this uncertain future, we need to have a force of the future and for the future," he said. "We need a force that's going to seize upon this revolution of military affairs and use those technological advances that will dominate the entire battlespace. We need forces that will be more rapidly deployable, more agile and more lethal."
He said to be successful in building the forces, DoD must get more out of defense dollars and have support structures that can respond just as quickly and flexibly as warfighters. The program office, formed in January, is chartered to accelerate DoD use of electronic commerce. It brings together DoD acquisition and technology experts who jointly develop electronic commerce processes.
The Defense Logistics Agency, under Army Lt. Gen. Henry T. Glisson, takes care of the business side -- working with industry, recruiting participants and coordinating the activities of buyers and sellers, among other things.
The Defense Information Systems Agency, headed by Army Lt. Gen. David J. Kelley, will devise the technical architecture, coordinate standards and develop enterprise licensing. It will engineer, test and integrate the various needed information systems.
The Defense Finance and Accounting Service will assign a representative to the office because of electronic commerce's impact on DoD financial reform efforts.
The World Wide Web site for the Joint Electronic Commerce Program Office is http://www.acq.osd.mil/ec/. The site's purpose is to help accelerate the application of electronic business practices and associated information technologies to improve DOD acquisition processes through electronic commerce and to support sustainment life-cycle practices." The site offers information on all aspects of the program.