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ELEMENTS OF SYSTEMS MODERNIZATION FOR THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION A Report Prepared by the Committee on Review of the SSA's Systems Modernization Plan (SMP) and Agency Strategic Plan (ASP) Board on Telecommunications and Computer Applications Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems Computer Science and Telecommunications Board Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Applications National Research Council NATIONAL ACADENINt PRESS Washington, D.C. 1991
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NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for this report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Frank Press is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Robert M. White is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Samuel O. Thier is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and of advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Frank Press and Dr. Robert M. White are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council. This project is supported by Contract No. 600-88-0163 between the Social Security Administration and the National Academy of Sciences. Available from: Computer Science and Telecommunications Board Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Applications National Research Council 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, DC 20418 Printed in the United States of America
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COMMITTEE ON REVIEW OF THE SSA'S SYSTEM MODERNIZATION PLAN (SMP) AND AGENCY STRATEGIC PLAN (ASP) WILLIS H. WARE, Ch~aim~an, The RAND Corporation LAWRENCE E. BACON, The Travelers Companies B. GARLAND CUPP, American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc. LYNN W. ELLIS, University of New Haven JAMES C. EMERY, University of Pennsylvania PETER D. GROSS, Computer Sciences Corporation CASIMIR A. KULIKOWSKI, Rutgers University RICHARD T. LIEBHABER, MCI Communications Corporation GARY R. NELSON, Systems Research and Applications Corporation CHARLES H. SHORTER, TRW Information Systems Group EDGAR H. SIBLEY, George Mason University GIO WIEDERHOLD, Stanford University Staff ANTHONY M. FORTE, Study Director LINDA L. JOYNER, Project Assistant · · .
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BOARD ON TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND COMPUTER APPLICATIONS JORDAN J. BARUCH, Chainnan, Jordan Baruch Associates, Inc. GEORGE A. BEKEY, University of Southern California DANIEL BELL, American Academy of Arts and Sciences HERBERT D. BENINGTON, UNISYS Defense Systems DAVID J. FARBER, University of Pennsylvania JAMES L. FLANAGAN, AT&T Bell Laboratories ROBERT Y. HUANG, TRW Space Technology Group (retired) ROBERT L. MARTIN, Bell Communications Research JOHN C. McDONALD, Continental Telecommunications, Inc. WILLIAM F. MILLER, SRI International JOEL MOSES, Massachusetts Institute of Technology HENRY M. RIVERA, Dow, Lohnes and Albertson CHARLES W. STEPHENS, TRW Electronics & Defense Sector (retired) ERIC E. SUMNER, AT&T Bell Laboratories GEORGE L. TURIN, University of California, Berkeley KEITH W. UNCAPHER, University of Southern California ANDREW J. VITERBI, University of California, San Diego WILLIS H. WARE, The RAND Corporation BARRY H. WHALEN, MCC Corporation Staff JOHN M. RICHARDSON, Director ANTHONY M. FORTE, Senior Staff Officer BENJAMIN J. LEON, Senior Staff Officer CARLITA M. PERRY, Staff Associate LINDA L. JOYNER, Project Assistant 1V :-
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COMMISSION ON ENGINEERING AND TECHNICAL SYSTEMS ARDEN L. BEMENT, JR., Chairman, TRW, Inc. JOHN A. ARMSTRONG, IBM Corporation DENNIS CHAMOT, AFL - CIO KENT F. HANSEN, Massachusetts Institute of Technology E.R. HEIBERG, III, J^. Jones Construction Services Company WILLIAM G. HOWARD, JR., National Academy of Engineering RICHARD C. MESSINGER, Cincinnati Milacron, Inc. IRENE C. PEDEN, University of Washington EBERHARDT RECHTIN, University of Southern California CHARLES F. TIFFANY, Boeing Military Airplane Company (retired) PAUL TORGERSEN, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University JOHN B. WACHTMAN, JR., Rutgers University DAVID L. BODDE, Executive Director v
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COMPUTER SCIENCE AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS BOARD JOSEPH F. TRAUB, Chainnan, Columbia University ALFRED V. AHO, AT&T Bell Laboratories JOHN SEELY BROWN, Xerox Corporation - PARC FRANK P. CARRUBBA, Hewlett-Packard Company DAVID J. FARBER, University of Pennsylvania SAMUEL H. FULLER, Digital Equipment Corporation JAMES FREEMAN GILBERT, University of California at San Diego WILLIAM A. GODDARD III, California Institute of Technology JOHN L. HENNESSY, Stanford University JOHN E. HOPCROFT, Cornell University MITCHELL D. KAPOR, ON Technology, Inc. SIDNEY KARIN, General Atomics LEONARD KLEINROCK, University of California at Los Angeles ROBERT LANGRIDGE, University of California at San Francisco ROBERT L. MARTIN, Bell Communications Research WILLIAM F. MILLER, SRI International ABRAHAM PELED, IBM TJ. Watson Research Center RAJ REDDY, Carnegie-Mellon University JEROME H. SALTZER, Massachusetts Institute of Technology MARY SHAW, Carneg~e-Mellon University ERIC E. SUMNER, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers IVAN E. SUTHERLAND, Sutherland, Sproull & Associates GEORGE L. TURIN, University of California at Berkeley VICTOR VYSSOTSKY, Digital Equipment Corporation WILLIS H. WARE, The RAND Corporation WILLIAM WULF, University of Virginia Staff MARJORY BLUMENTHAL, StaM Director ANTHONY M. FORTE, Senior Staff Officer HERBERT S. LIN, Senior Staff Officer DAMIAN M. SACCOCIO, Staff Officer RENEE A. HAWKINS, Staff Associate DONNA F. ALLEN, Administrative Secretary LINDA L. JOYNER, Project Assistant CATHERINE A. SPARKS, Senior Secretary V1
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COMMISSION ON PHYSICAL SCIENCES MATHEMATICS, AND APPLICATIONS NORMAN HACKERMAN, Chairman, Robert A. Welch Foundation PETER J. BICKEL, University of California at Berkeley GEORGE F. CARRIER, Harvard University HERBERT D. DOAN, The Dow Chemical Company Retired DEAN E. EASTMAN, IBM TJ. Watson Research Center MARYE ANNE FOX University of Texas PHILLIP A. GRIFPTTHS, Duke University NEAL F. ~NE, Rice University ROBERT W. LUCKY, AT&T Bed Laboratories CHRISTOPHER F. McKEE, University of California at Berkeley RICHARD S. NICHOLSON, American Association for the Advancement of Science JEREML\H P. OSTRIBR, Princeton University Observatory ALAN SCHRIESHEIM, Argonne National Laboratory ROY F. SCHWITTERS, Superconducting Super Collider Laboratory KENNETH G. WILSON, Ohio State University NORMAN METZGER, Executive Director · ~ V11
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PREFACE This is the fourth in a series of reports produced by the National Research Council (NRC) to review information systems for the Social Security Administration (SSA).1 Two letter reports have also been sent to the SSA. Collectively these reviews span 14 years and 10 commissioners of the SSA. The committees responsible for the reports have thus had ample calendar time to observe the progress and evolution of the SSA. Perhaps not surprisingly, certain themes have continued to require attention. Among them are the architecture of the computer system that supports the SSA, the level and quality of the service that SSA clients receive, and the SSA's self-image as a motivator for ongoing improvement and progress. As was noted in the preface of the third report in this series, "The SSA . . . can be characterized as huge in both absolute and relative terms. . . . nothing is small; little is easy to accomplish; and change comes with difficulty." Nothing has been harder to change than the SSA's self-image; the reports have underscored the need for a "strategic vision." It is worth articulating again, phrasing it in the same spirit that inspired the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA): "A strategic vision is a clear image of what you want to achieve, which then organizes and instructs every step. . . . Contrast . . . putting a man on the moon by the end of the decade with 'We are going to be the world leader in space exploration,' which doesn't organize anything" (John Naisbitt' Megatrends' Warner Books, 1982). The SSA is basically a provider of services, rather than an achiever of physical events; its mission is distinctly different from NASA's. Nonetheless, a strategic vision is still required, although it need not cover every aspect of SSA's activities. NASA did many other things while putting a man on the moon, but a salient goal drove the entire organization. This present report stresses again the need for a central strategic vision for the SSA; it is important. Might it be this simple: 'The SSA will be fully automated by the end of the century.' . LK
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An effort such as this study depends on many people, and the contribution of each is gratefully acknowledged. On the committee's side, there are all the members who diligently and conscientiously attended meetings and pooled their thoughts, ideas, and draft material. On the SSA side we owe much to present Commissioner Gwendolyn S. King, to prior Deputy Commissioner Herbert R. Doggette, Jr., to Deputy Commissioner Renato A. DiPentima, to Deputy Commission John R. Dyer, to Chief Financial Officer Norman Goldstein, and to the many other executives and staff of the SSA who briefed us and fielded our probing, insistent questions, and to John Ryan (in strategic planning), who has been our point of contact. From the NRC side, we were ably supported by senior staff officer Anthony M. Forte and his assistant, Linda L. Joyner. During this present study and preparation of this report, the NRC reorganized two of its boards. The Board on Telecommunications and Computer Applications, under which this and prior studies were initiated, was merged with the former Computer Science and Technology Board, and the resulting unit was named the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board, under the aegis of the Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Applications. The conduct of this study and preparation of this report were done mostly under the auspices of the Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems. A roster of each group has been included in the front matter of this report. Willis H. Ware, Chairman Committee on Review of the SSA's Systems Modernization Plan and Agency Strategic Plan 1 The three previous reports, all issued by the National Research Council, are (1) Review of a New Data Management System for tile Social Security Administration (Washington, D.C.: National Academy of Sciences), 1978; (2) Second Review of a New Data Management System for the Social Security Administration (Washington, D.C.: National Academy of Sciences), 1979; and (3) Systems Modernization and the Strategic Plans of the Social Security Administration (Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press), 1990. x
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CONTENTS EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 1 INTRODUCTION....... SSA's Past Performance, 15 Evaluation of SSA's Systems Modernization, 16 The Committee's Review Approach, 16 Reference, 17 1 2 PROMULGATING A VISION A Vision for the 1990s and Beyond, 20 Technology Vision and Innovative Transition, 22 Architectures and Planned Transition to New Systems, 22 Implementation of a New System, 24 References, 25 3 SERVING THE PUBLIC . . . . Service Objectives, Metrics, and Operational Planning, 27 Reference, 34 4 STRUCTURING THE ORGANIZATION ........ Technology Organization and Management Issues, 35 Relating Structure to Goals and Functions, 35 Impact of Present Overall Organizational Structure, 36 Technology Management Systems, 39 References, 47 5 DEVELOPING THE WORK FORCE . Forces of Change, 49 Effects of Automation, 50 Composition of the Technical Work Force, 52 Educating and Training the Work Force, 53 Conclusion, 54 Reference, 55 X1 ... 13 ..... 19 27 Tic JO 49
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6 MANAGING TECHNOLOGY Automation at the Program Service Centers, 58 Managing Backup and Recovely, 59 Automation Directions for SST, 60 Toward Advanced Application Specifications, 61 Technological Possibilities for SSA, 63 Reference, 68 APPENDIXES A Work Statement Phase IT . .. . . .. . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . .. . . . . . B Letter Report to Gwendolyn S. King . .. . . . .. . .. . . . . . .. .. . . . C List of Presentations to the Committee on Review of SSA's Systems Modernization Plan (SMP) and Agengy Strategic Plan (ASP) . . D SSA's Major Services E Glossary......... .... A, .... I] 73 81 ....... 87 99 · ~ X11