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DOD IT resources failed during Katrina

DOD IT resources failed during Katrina
DOD IT resources failed during Katrina 

By Josh Rogin
Oct. 27, 2006

Shipments of goods to soldiers in Southwest Asia were delayed for four 
days after Hurricane Katrina because a logistics center in Baton Rouge, 
La., wasn't properly prepared for the disaster, according to a Defense 
Department report.

The 321st Theater Material Management Center Rear lacked internal 
controls and a disaster recovery plan to adequately protect and 
safeguard information technology resources, states an Oct. 18 report by 
the DOD Inspector Generals Office.

The center lost voice and data communications during the hurricane and 
was unable to resume operating one critical logistics information 
technology system within 24 hours, as required, the report states.

The IGs office also found that the centers internal controls were 
substandard. We identified internal control weakness in the protection 
of [IT] resources, it said. The center also did not have a disaster 
recovery plan.

The center is a U.S. Army Reserve unit under the 377th Theater Support 
Command. It is responsible for supply management for the area under 
Central Command, supporting the systems that track and deliver all 
ammunition and supplies to Iraq, Kuwait, Afghanistan and the Horn of 

Eventually, the unit re-established communications with Southwest Asia 
via satellite with the help of the Very Small Aperture Terminal Office, 
a part of the Defense Communications and Army Transmission Systems, 
which borrowed satellite terminals from a unit at Fort Polk, La., 
according to a news report.

But the consequences of a delay in providing important information or of 
a degradation of services may seriously affect the mission and 
operational readiness, the IG report states.

Since Katrina, the centers most critical IT resource, the Corps Theater 
Automatic Data Processing Center, was moved to Redstone Arsenal, Ala., 
because of an unrelated consolidation.

Nevertheless, the IG recommended that the management center establish 
disaster recovery measures for its critical IT systems at their final 
locations and that Army Materiel Command execute those measures after 
the consolidation.

Army officials concurred with the IG offices recommendations.

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