New Army PEO EIS will focus on agile portfolio

Tight budgets require better oversight and communications between stakeholders

One of the top goals for the Army Program Executive Office for Enterprise Information Systems (PEO EIS) next year will be to review the service's portfolio of IT capabilities and deploy them more efficiently, said Doug Wiltsie, PEO EIS program executive officer, at AFCEA’s Army IT Day on Dec. 14.

Wiltsie noted, for example, that there are many intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities in Afghanistan. But the Army doesn’t need any more platforms, it just needs to get more use from the existing assets, he said.

With shrinking budgets, the other goal is to see how existing requirements can be trimmed and consolidated, he said. One example is to avoid redundant programs. To achieve this goal, the Army needs to build a robust partnership—not just with industry, but with the Defense Department, Wiltsie said.

“Partnering with the DOD is important because if you do it early enough, you can get your decisions made in time,” he said.

Such partnerships are becoming increasingly important as the service’s budget shrinks. The Army’s budget for the 2012 fiscal year is $216 billion, down from $245 billion in 2011, Wiltsie said. He added that PEO EIS’s budget for 2012 is $1.7 billion. PEO EIS faces some staff cuts with the acquisition workforce being trimmed to save $1.6 million.

There is also a great deal of work to do at the portfolio level, Wiltsie said. PEO EIS must shape how requirements are written and developed. Reaching out to industry, he noted that robust partnerships and the ability to have open discussions help avoid unpleasant surprises in the contracting process. “The ability to have an open discussion, we need to be able to do that,” he said.

Program managers must also think differently when working with commercial firms. Managers need to be able to see how a decision might affect the portfolio or enterprise, Wiltsie said.

The Army also needs to be more proactive rather than reactive to changing situations. The service will have to plan things in advance if it wants to avoid acquisition surprises, said Wiltsie. When contract award money arrives, he wants is delivered as quickly and efficiently as possible, he said.

As the service shifts from a wartime setting to more of a peace-time environment, it needs to modify how it handles funds and programs. Wiltsie noted that during the height of the deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq, operations directives were written and implemented within days. But with funding getting tight, it is now up to the Army’s leadership to make hard program decisions, he said.

About the Author

Henry Kenyon is a contributing writer for Defense Systems.

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