Magazine article DISAM Journal

Web-Based Security Assistance Automated Resource Management System. (Educational and Training)

Magazine article DISAM Journal

Web-Based Security Assistance Automated Resource Management System. (Educational and Training)

Article excerpt

[This paper represents the views of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Department of Defense, Component Services, Air University, or the College for Professional Development.]

"We are seeing a tremendous amount of interest in e-government initiatives...Local and state governments alike can now see the many advantages in using the Internet and web technologies to deliver what we call 'e-applications'; web-based software that has the power to transform the way government does business. The Internet is the perfect medium to bring together the general public and government agencies to promote user convenience, efficiency, cost savings, and improved information flow.

Tim Knox, President and CEO, Digital Graphiti, Inc.

In this same spirit, The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) must convert the Security Assistance Automated Resource Management System (SAARMS) software from a stand-alone software system to a web-based database to provide for improved overall financial management of the SAARMS program. The specific improvements will include improved analysis of accounting information, improved transaction timeliness, and conversion to a web-based SAARMS eases the fielding of software updates.

The Security Assistance Automated Resource Management System is a memorandum accounting system developed by DSCA. Over 105 security assistance offices around the world use it at their geographically separated offices usually collocated at an American Embassy. Security Assistance Offices use SAARMS to perform day-to-day financial and procurement operations, purchasing, budgeting and reconciliation. These SAARMS-generated financial transactions are electronically transmitted into the official Air Force accounting systems via an Internet data network where they pass through an interface application, which validates the data for accuracy and passes the accounting data to an accounts payable module for obligation and processing. As a stand-alone system, SAARMS has worked well since 1995 but Internet technology is fast making SAARMS outdated.

As Internet technology makes advances, so must the SAARMS software. A web-based SAARMS platform would provide for improved analysis of accounting information and comprehension of its value, uses, and limitations - quicker than a stand-alone system. By providing instant access to the accounting data and all the tools available from the Internet, a web-based SAARMS program helps upgrade the knowledge, nature, and source of accounting information necessary to analyze accounting data for decision-makers. As a result, senior decision-makers will no longer have to wait for end of month financial data. Web-based SAARMS helps the accountant work more intelligently with the financial executive to maximize the usefulness of the accounting information received and to recognize whether the accounting function is providing all of the relevant accounting information necessary for sound decision-making.

Another advantage to the web-based SAARMS is that Unified Commands would be able to instantly load funding authorizations for their Security Assistance Offices. Currently, a funding document, in the form of an AF Form 616, Fund Cite Authorization, must be prepared and mailed (or faxed) to the organization that requires the funds and followed up with an official message. With a properly written program, a web-based SAARMS system would take advantage of a PKI or public key infrastructure as a tool for securing net-based communications and transactions. These PKI or "electronic" signatures on an electronic funding document would eliminate the hard copy documents just as it does with other government financial programs such as the Automated Business Service System.

Like other online professional accounting systems, users could work anytime, anywhere, with anyone. A web-based SAARMS would improve transaction timeliness, allowing timely accounting record maintenance and user conveniences. …

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