United States General Accounting Office GAO Report to the Acting Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) August 1997 DFAS TELECOMMUNICATIONS DFAS Has the Opportunity To Reduce Its Telecommunication Line Capacity GAO/AIMD-97-100 United States GAO General Accounting Office Washington, D.C. 20548 Accounting and Information Management Division B-275892 August 1, 1997 Ms. Alice C. Maroni Acting Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) Dear Ms. Maroni: The Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) was established in January 1991 to streamline and standardize the Department of Defense’s (DOD) finance and accounting policies, procedures, and systems. In May 1994, the Deputy Secretary of Defense announced plans to consolidate over 300 defense accounting offices (DAOs) into 5 large existing finance centers1 and 21 new sites2 called operating locations (OPLOCs). The success of this effort is dependent, in large part, on the OPLOCs’ ability to obtain and process finance and accounting data from DOD’s numerous and geographically dispersed military installations. DFAS is relying on the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) to provide the telecommunication services needed to transmit this critical information. Due to the important role that telecommunication services have in DFAS’ day-to-day accounting operations, as well as congressional interest in using information technology to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of governmental operations, we reviewed the use of the 50 data communication lines that DFAS leases from DISA to connect its OPLOCs and finance centers and the DISA megacenters through one of DISA’s common user data networks—the N-level (Unclassified-but-Sensitive) Internet Protocol Router Network (NIPRNET). Our primary objective was to determine whether these data communication lines are effectively managed. Our analysis of the usage data for the 50 leased data communication lines Results in Brief indicates that 29 lines may not be utilized in the most efficient, effective, and economical manner. This situation is due primarily to DFAS not performing a thorough analysis of its telecommunication requirements. To meet the tight time frames prescribed for the consolidation effort, DFAS did not consider critical factors such as frequency of use, peak usage periods, and the volume of information to be transmitted and received. Rather, the DFAS Deputy Director for Information Management decided that a start-up 1 DOD’s five large centers are located in Cleveland, Ohio; Columbus, Ohio; Denver, Colorado; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Kansas City, Missouri. 2 As of May 1997, four sites had not yet been opened. Page 1 GAO/AIMD-97-100 DFAS Telecommunications B-275892 line of 512 kilobits (kbs) per second3 would provide sufficient capacity for the workload requirements of each OPLOC. As the finance and accounting workload was transferred from the DAOs to the OPLOCs, operational problems, such as increased downtime and slow response times, began to surface. To resolve these problems, across-the-board line and equipment upgrades were made without knowing what specific changes were needed to remedy the problem at each location. With the transfer of the DAOs to the OPLOCs virtually complete, DFAS can now thoroughly reassess and revalidate its existing telecommunication lines to determine if they are effectively utilized. Doing so would also enable DFAS to identify opportunities for reducing its lease cost. Such reassessments are important because they enable an agency to determine, based on empirical data, whether its telecommunication lines are properly sized, meet mission requirements, and are cost-effective. As part of DOD’s efforts to streamline and standardize finance and Background accounting activities, DFAS was given management control of the DOD’s 5 large finance centers and many of the functions carried out at the 332 installation finance and accounting offices. In May 1994, the Deputy Secretary of Defense announced plans to consolidate DOD’s finance and accounting operations into the 5 large finance centers and 21 OPLOCs. In previous work, we have questioned the overall need for DOD having 21 operating locations.4 While this is a massive effort in itself, it is also complicated by the scope of DOD’s finance and accounting operations. For example, in fiscal year 1996, DOD disbursed $266 billion related to 17 million invoices, 6 million payroll accounts, and 2 million travel vouchers, it also collected $238 million from 116,000 debtors. As DOD’s accounting agency, DFAS records these transactions in the Department’s accounting records. DFAS also prepares reports for DOD managers and the DOD-wide and service-specific financial statements required by the Chief Financial Officers (CFO) Act and the Office of Management and Budget implementing directives. Both DFAS and DISA have major responsibilities for ensuring the efficient and effective transmission of DOD’s finance and accounting data. DFAS is 3 One kilobit is one thousand bits; therefore, a 512 kilobit per second line can transmit 512,000 bits per second. 4 DOD Infrastructure: DOD Is Opening Unneeded Finance and Accounting Offices (GAO/NSIAD-96-113, April 24, 1996) and DOD Infrastructure: DOD’s Planned Finance and Accounting Structure Is Not Well Justified (GAO/NSIAD-95-127, September 18, 1995). Page 2 GAO/AIMD-97-100 DFAS Telecommunications B-275892 responsible for identifying its requirements by analyzing expected workloads and telecommunication performance parameters, such as transmission frequency, availability, and speed. As DOD’s central manager for information technology and technical support, DISA is responsible for acquiring, operating, and maintaining the data communication lines needed to satisfy DFAS’ day-to-day activities, as well as providing data processing services through its various megacenters. DFAS is leasing 50 data communication lines from DISA to transmit the finance and accounting data between its various accounting locations and DISA’s megacenters through the NIPRNET. Figure 1 illustrates this connectivity and the transmission of the data. Our review focused on the use of the communication lines used to connect DFAS’ finance centers, OPLOCs, and DISA megacenters through DISA’s NIPRNET. Page 3 GAO/AIMD-97-100 DFAS Telecommunications B-275892 Figure 1: Flow of Finance and Accounting Data Between DFAS’ OPLOCs and Finance Centers and DISA’s Megacenters Through NIPRNET DISA Megacenter DFAS Operation Locations Router Workstation Mainframe Mainframe Network Server DISA NIPRNET Military Service Installations Camps and/or Stations DFAS Finance Centers Router Workstation S REPORT Network Server To determine whether DFAS is effectively managing the telecommunication Scope and lines it is leasing from DISA to support the consolidation of DOD’s Methodology accounting and finance operations, we reviewed DOD directives and instructions to determine the specific roles and responsibilities of DFAS and Page 4 GAO/AIMD-97-100 DFAS Telecommunications B-275892 DISA in the procurement and management of data communication services. We met with DFAS and DISA officials involved in the consolidation effort to obtain an understanding of the importance of data communications to the success of consolidated DOD accounting and finance operations and identify specific criteria used to select communication lines connecting DFAS’ OPLOCs and finance centers, and DISA’s megacenters with the NIPRNET. We extracted and analyzed data from two DISA computerized databases and reconciled any inconsistencies found to identify and assess DFAS’ use of its leased telecommunication lines for the 4 months ending January 31, 1997. Our analyses of the Defense Information Services Database and the World-Wide On-Line System identified 50 data communication lines used by DFAS to transmit finance and accounting data between the OPLOCs, finance centers, and megacenters through the NIPRNET. Further, we compared data from the two DISA databases with service request documentation used to initiate the telecommunication services to cross-check data accuracy and completeness. We evaluated line use data sampled every hour by DISA’s regional control centers detailing the daily use of the 50 DFAS lines from October 1, 1996, through January 31, 1997. We determined the maximum usage level by adding the highest individual levels of utilization in receiving and sending data experienced during the 4-month period. We compared our calculated rate of utilization with the line currently in place. We discussed our approach with DISA and DFAS officials responsible for ensuring efficient use of DOD telecommunication resources. We performed our work at DFAS and DISA headquarters offices, Washington, D.C.; DFAS Center, Denver, Colorado; DFAS Center and Financial Service Organization, Indianapolis, Indiana; DFAS OPLOCs in Limestone, Maine; Oakland, California; and Seaside, California; DISA Regional Control Center, Columbus, Ohio; DISA Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization and the Defense Information System Network Service Center, Scott Air Force Base, Illinois; and the Defense Megacenter, Denver, Colorado. We also contacted and obtained information from the DISA Regional Control Center in Oahu, Hawaii. Our work was performed from July 1996 through May 1997 in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. We requested written comments on a draft of the report from the Secretary of Defense or his designee. The Deputy Chief Financial Officer provided written comments, which are discussed in the “Agency Comments and Our Evaluation” section and reprinted in appendix II. Page 5 GAO/AIMD-97-100 DFAS Telecommunications B-275892 DFAS did not adequately identify its telecommunication requirements Determining before the OPLOCs began operations. As a result, many of DFAS’ Requirements Is Key telecommunication lines may have excess capacity. Our analysis of to Properly Sizing utilization data, which is one element that should be considered in properly sizing lines, disclosed that 29 lines may have larger capacity than Telecommunication required. Leasing more capacity than is needed to meet day-to-day Lines operational requirements could result in DFAS incurring unnecessary lease cost. Defining and validating requirements through analysis of expected workload and performance parameters is an essential first step in the telecommunication selection and acquisition process.5 Such definitions form the basis for identifying and evaluating alternative approaches and selecting and acquiring an appropriate technical solution based on those alternatives. Defining requirements necessitates the collection and identification of such elements as (1) the location, type, and number of users, (2) the nature of the interfacing computer applications and equipment, (3) the frequency of use and the transmission speed, (4) peak usage periods, and (5) the volume of data to be transmitted and received. The next step involves identifying and evaluating viable technical alternatives for meeting those requirements. Critical factors evaluated within this step include such elements as the compatibility with existing networks and equipment, technical feasibility, maintainability, cost, and the ability to meet the defined requirements.6 DFAS did not perform a thorough analysis of its site specific requirements before the OPLOCs began operations because of the tight time frames prescribed for bringing the OPLOCs on-line and transferring the accounting responsibility and workload from the consolidated DAOs. In response to DFAS’ request, DISA developed a project implementation plan7 dated February 1995 that addressed the connectivity requirements for consolidating the 332 DAOs into the 21 OPLOCs. The plan identified various alternatives for addressing DFAS connectivity requirements. The plan cautioned that the implementation requirements might need to be revised based on analyses of actual site workload demands and results as the 5 Defense Communications: Management Problems Jeopardize DISN Implementation (GAO/AIMD-95-136, July 13, 1995). 6 These requirement definitions and critical factors were developed by the Institute of Internal Auditors Research Foundation, Systems Auditability and Control, December 1991, Module 8, “Telecommunications.” 7 DFAS/DAO Consolidation Information Management Service, Project Implementation Plan, February 1995. Page 6 GAO/AIMD-97-100 DFAS Telecommunications B-275892 consolidation progressed. Based on a decision by the DFAS Deputy Director for Information Management, all alternatives assumed the use of 512 kbs lines for the initial network configuration. As the finance and accounting functions were transferred from the DAOs to the OPLOCs, the data traffic was greater than anticipated, and transmission of the finance and accounting data was unexpectedly slow. This problem was compounded by the shared use of military owned communication equipment at four DISA megacenters. Together, these two problems caused major breakdowns in DFAS’ day-to-day operations. For example, DFAS experienced periods each month when the OPLOCs and finance centers could not receive or send data. When data could be transmitted, the system responses to user inquiries were often very slow. To resolve these problems, DFAS and DISA implemented several corrective actions. DFAS upgraded its telecommunication lines between the OPLOCs and the NIPRNET. DISA also upgraded the lines between its megacenters and procured dedicated communication equipment for DFAS. These actions, which addressed serious problems, were taken across the board without determining the specific line capacity required at each site. Since DFAS had not developed site-specific requirements, we used utilization data to identify lines that may be potentially underutilized. Our analysis of the usage data for the 50 lines, which we have provided to and discussed with DFAS, disclosed that 29 lines may not be utilized in the most economical manner, resulting in DFAS incurring unnecessary lease cost. For each line we were conservative in establishing a maximum possible peak usage by combining the sum of the highest peak sent and highest peak received.8 Figure 2 shows the 29 DFAS lines that may be underutilized. 8 The maximum possible peak was determined by adding the highest peak received and the highest peak sent. These levels of utilization could have occurred on different days and at different hours during the 4-month measured period. Page 7 GAO/AIMD-97-100 DFAS Telecommunications B-275892 Figure 2: Utilization Rate for 29 DFAS Lines 1,750 1,500 a 1,250 Line capacity available and 1,000 utilized (kilobits per second) 750 500 250 0 b used not used a The utilization on this line was four kilobits. b The amount used represents the sum of the highest peak sent and the highest peak received. Additional utilization detail is provided in appendix I. While usage data alone is not sufficient to determine required line capacity, it is a significant consideration that DFAS should include in its review and revalidation effort, as discussed in the following section. Page 8 GAO/AIMD-97-100 DFAS Telecommunications B-275892 DOD requires9 that agencies biennially review and revalidate their Reassessment of requirements for telecommunication equipment and services to ensure DFAS’ that they acquire and use such services in the most efficient and Telecommunication economical manner. Such reassessments are important because they enable an agency to determine, based on empirical data, whether its Requirements Is telecommunication lines are properly sized, meet mission requirements, Needed and are cost-effective. As of March 1997, this type of thorough reassessment had not been performed on the 50 data communication lines. DFAS officials informed us that they had not reassessed the lines because they were managed by DISA during fiscal year 1996. Although DISA performed an assessment in early 1996, this effort was somewhat limited. For example, DISA did not obtain utilization data or reassess the validity of the users’ prescribed performance parameters, such as transmission speed. With the transfer of the finance and accounting operations for 307 of the 332 DAOs to be completed by the end of this fiscal year, DFAS’ operations have been largely stabilized, thus affording DFAS an opportunity to reassess its data communication requirements. Such a reassessment would enable DFAS to refine its requirements and establish what needs to be done to reduce the cost of operations without hindering operational effectiveness. Since DFAS has not yet performed any detailed analyses, it would be prudent to conduct a full-scale assessment, which would include tasks similar to those normally performed when a requirement is originally defined and validated, as discussed previously. If performed properly, this assessment would enable DFAS to ensure that its data communication lines satisfy mission requirements cost-effectively. In the absence of a thorough analysis of DFAS’ requirements, our evaluation Conclusions of utilization data indicates that many of its telecommunication lines may have excess capacity. Until DFAS completes such an analysis, it runs the risk of paying for excess capacity. To ensure that the long-term telecommunication needs of DFAS are Recommendation properly defined and cost-effective, we recommend that the Director of DFAS follow existing DOD policy and reassess DFAS’ telecommunication requirements, at a minimum considering such factors as workload 9 Defense Directive 4640.13, Management of Base and Long-Haul Telecommunications Equipment and Services, December 5, 1991, and Defense Instruction 4640.14, Base and Long-Haul Telecommunication Equipment and Services, December 6, 1991. Page 9 GAO/AIMD-97-100 DFAS Telecommunications B-275892 capacity, utilization statistics of its telecommunication assets, response time, and cost-benefit analyses supporting the use of the telecommunication resources. In written comments on a draft of this report, DOD’s Deputy CFO agreed Agency Comments with our recommendation that DFAS reassess its telecommunication and Our Evaluation requirements, stating that DFAS will perform such a reassessment in September and October 1997. However, DOD did not concur with our findings and conclusions. The Deputy CFO stated that our analysis did not take into consideration DFAS’ mission and future requirements and, therefore, should not be used as a basis to downsize DFAS’ telecommunication lines. Our report does not identify specific telecommunication lines that should be downsized. Rather, it points out that utilization data is one factor that needs to be considered in determining if telecommunication lines are being utilized in the most efficient, effective, and economical manner. As discussed in the report, our analysis of the utilization data disclosed that 29 lines may have larger capacity than required. Therefore, based on our analysis, and the fact that DFAS has not determined site specific requirements, we recommended that DFAS reassess its telecommunication requirements which, as noted above, the Department agreed with. We are sending copies of this report to the Chairmen and Ranking Minority Members of the Senate and House Committees on Appropriations, the Senate Committee on Armed Services, the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, the House Committee on National Security, and the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight; the Secretary of Defense; the Director, Defense Information Systems Agency; the Acting Director, the Defense Finance and Accounting Service; and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget. Copies will be made available to others on request. Page 10 GAO/AIMD-97-100 DFAS Telecommunications B-275892 Within 60 days of the date of this report, we would appreciate receiving a written statement on actions taken to address our recommendation. If you have any questions about the report, please call me at (202) 512-6240. Major contributors to this report are listed in appendix III. Sincerely yours, Jack L. Brock, Jr. Director, Defense Information and Financial Management Systems Page 11 GAO/AIMD-97-100 DFAS Telecommunications Contents Letter 1 Appendix I 14 Detailed Usage Data for DFAS’ 50 Telecommunication Lines Appendix II 16 Comments From the Department of Defense Appendix III 19 Major Contributors to This Report Figures Figure 1: Flow of Finance and Accounting Data Between DFAS’ 4 OPLOCs and Finance Centers and DISA’s Megacenters Through NIPRNET Figure 2: Utilization Rate for 29 DFAS Lines 8 Abbreviations CFO Chief Financial Officer DAO Defense Accounting Office DFAS Defense Finance and Accounting Service DISA Defense Information Systems Agency DOD Department of Defense kbs kilobits per second NIPRNET N-level (Unclassified-but-Sensitive) Internet Protocol Router Network OPLOC Operating Location Page 12 GAO/AIMD-97-100 DFAS Telecommunications Page 13 GAO/AIMD-97-100 DFAS Telecommunications Appendix I Detailed Usage Data for DFAS’ 50 Telecommunication Lines The following table shows the DFAS OPLOCs’ and centers’ peak use for receiving and sending information from October 1, 1996, through January 31, 1997, over leased telecommunication lines connected to the NIPRNET. The maximum peak method sums the highest peak sent and highest peak received experienced during the measurement period. Peak use Peak use Max peak Used line Current line received sent use capacity Line number From location To location size (kbs) (Percent) (Percent) (Percent) (kbs) 71SK Dayton Wright-Patterson 1544 15.7 16.4 32.1 496 71QR Ft. Sill Tinker AFB 512 17.4 22.0 39.4 202 71SH Rock Island Rock Island 1544 28.8 13.2 42.0 649 71LF Dayton Dayton 512 4.7 38.5 43.2 222 71ST Pensacola Jacksonville 1544 19.1 10.0 29.1 450 71SP San Bernardino North Island 1544 5.7 9.6 15.3 237 71SJ Norfolk Hampton Roads 1544 10.2 2.0 12.2 189 718Y San Antonio Tinker AFB 512 10.0 20.6 30.6 157 7LKR Charleston Charleston 512 10.1 10.1 20.2 104 7LLA Norfolk Hampton Roads 512 12.2 38.3 50.5 259 7LKY Offutt AFB Tinker AFB 512 21.6 24.7 46.3 238 7LKZ Rock Island Chicago 0’Hare 512 0.0 8.8 8.8 46 7LKU Oakland Oakland 512 2.4 15.9 18.3 94 71QY Oakland Oakland 512 1.1 18.7 19.8 102 71QX St. Louis St. Louis 512 6.2 15.1 21.3 110 71SG Offutt AFB Denver 1544 6.2 13.7 19.9 308 7LPT Limestone Boston 512 11.5 40.0 51.5 264 71SN Limestone Mechanicsburg 1544 6.8 15.4 22.2 343 7139 Kansas City Kansas City 1544 0.1 0.1 0.2 4 7136 Kansas City St. Louis 1544 8.3 24.0 32.3 499 71SR Charleston Charleston 1544 10.9 15.4 26.3 407 71SQ Orlando Jacksonville 1544 16.1 18.6 34.7 536 71SM Oakland Oakland 1544 7.2 17.0 24.2 374 71SL Griffiss Mechanicsburg 1544 11.8 22.7 34.5 533 71K6 Pensacola Pensacola 512 2.9 11.6 14.5 75 7181 Seaside McClellan AFB 1544 4.6 8.1 12.7 197 718X San Antonio Kelly AFB 1544 17.6 8.5 26.1 403 715H St. Louis St. Louis 1544 2.5 4.1 6.6 102 71SF San Diego North Island 1544 12.5 28.0 40.5 626 71K7 San Bernardino North Island 512 25.8 56.4 82.2 421 71QQ Pensacola Jacksonville 512 1.4 27.0 28.4 146 (continued) Page 14 GAO/AIMD-97-100 DFAS Telecommunications Appendix I Detailed Usage Data for DFAS’ 50 Telecommunication Lines Peak use Peak use Max peak Used line Current line received sent use capacity Line number From location To location size (kbs) (Percent) (Percent) (Percent) (kbs) 7LKX San Diego North Island 512 4.2 10.6 14.6 76 7LLB Griffiss Mechanicsburg 512 31.0 30.9 61.9 317 715N Columbus Wright-Patterson 1544 16.5 37.7 54.2 837 715M Columbus Columbus 1544 32.3 45.7 78.0 1205 71SS Ft. Ben Harrison Columbus 1544 41.8 55.9 97.7 1509 71QZ Ft. Ben Harrison Ft. Ben Harrison 512 74.0 5.9 79.9 410 72E8 Cleveland Columbus 1544 35.0 26.5 61.5 950 71RT Arlington Richmond 1544 10.0 12.4 22.4 346 7191 Bratenahl Columbus 1544 7.8 63.8 71.6 1106 7190 Bratenahl Wright-Patterson 1544 45.9 21.3 67.2 1038 715L Denver Denver 10000 4.9 6.6 11.5 1150 715K Denver Ft. Huachuca 1544 0.2 1.3 1.5 24 7LMH Orlando Pensacola 512 14.2 24.0 38.2 196 7MLU Cleveland Cleveland 10000 14.4 14.8 29.2 2920 7WYC Lowry Lowry 10000 13.1 5.9 19.0 1900 71WV San Diego San Diego 19 42.4 89.4 131.8 26 719Z Saufley Field Pensacola 512 68.4 19.0 87.4 448 XD6K Hickam Ford Islanda 1344 26.1 18.6 44.7 601 XD7U Ft. Shafter Ford Islanda 1544 14.9 10.7 25.6 396 Legend kbs=Kilobits per second. a Usage data for telecommunication lines of XD6K and XD7U covered October 1, 1996, through December 31, 1996, and January 20, 1997, through January 31, 1997. Source: Defense Information Services Database and the World-Wide On-Line System Page 15 GAO/AIMD-97-100 DFAS Telecommunications Appendix II Comments From the Department of Defense Page 16 GAO/AIMD-97-100 DFAS Telecommunications Appendix II Comments From the Department of Defense Page 17 GAO/AIMD-97-100 DFAS Telecommunications Appendix II Comments From the Department of Defense Page 18 GAO/AIMD-97-100 DFAS Telecommunications Appendix III Major Contributors to This Report John S. Reifsnyder, Project Director (703) 695-7510 Accounting and Darby W. Smith, Assistant Director Information William D. Hadesty, Technical Advisor Management Division, Madhav S. Panwar, Technical Advisor Cristina Chaplain, Communications Analyst Washington, D.C. Phillip E. Rutar, Project Manager Chicago/Dayton Field Sanford F. Reigle, Senior Information Systems Analyst Office Peggy A. Hegg, Senior Information Systems Analyst Denver Regional Office (511358) Page 19 GAO/AIMD-97-100 DFAS Telecommunications Ordering Information The first copy of each GAO report and testimony is free. Additional copies are $2 each. Orders should be sent to the following address, accompanied by a check or money order made out to the Superintendent of Documents, when necessary. VISA and MasterCard credit cards are accepted, also. Orders for 100 or more copies to be mailed to a single address are discounted 25 percent. Orders by mail: U.S. General Accounting Office P.O. Box 6015 Gaithersburg, MD 20884-6015 or visit: Room 1100 700 4th St. NW (corner of 4th and G Sts. NW) U.S. General Accounting Office Washington, DC Orders may also be placed by calling (202) 512-6000 or by using fax number (301) 258-4066, or TDD (301) 413-0006. Each day, GAO issues a list of newly available reports and testimony. To receive facsimile copies of the daily list or any list from the past 30 days, please call (202) 512-6000 using a touchtone phone. A recorded menu will provide information on how to obtain these lists. For information on how to access GAO reports on the INTERNET, send an e-mail message with "info" in the body to: email@example.com or visit GAO’s World Wide Web Home Page at: http://www.gao.gov PRINTED ON RECYCLED PAPER United States Bulk Rate General Accounting Office Postage & Fees Paid Washington, D.C. 20548-0001 GAO Permit No. G100 Official Business Penalty for Private Use $300 Address Correction Requested
DFAS Telecommunications: DFAS Has the Opportunity To Reduce Its Telecommunication Line Capacity
Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1997-08-01.
Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)