I Failed to Expose the Failures of DoD 5015.02 Records Management Solutions – And Now Thousands of Afghans Will Pay with Their Lives

On August 11th the DoD Inspector General issued this report to the Department of Defense to ensure all members of the military were clear on their requirements for managing electronic records during the withdrawal from Afghanistan.

On Page 4 of the report, the DoD IG specifically calls out the military’s requirement to manage records using DoD 5015.02-based technologies:

Yet by the end of the month, it was being widely reported that Taliban terrorists had seized control of millions of highly sensitive personal records that identified every Afghan citizen – and their family members – who had supported the US military effort during the Afghanistan war.

As I write this, untold thousands – possibly tens of thousands – of Afghan men, women, and children are being identified by these US military records, dragged from their homes, brutally tortured, and executed.

This horrifying tragedy is the direct result of the military’s complete failure to manage the lifecycle of the information it produces. And that failure is caused by a quarter-century of adherence to the records management methods and technologies dictated by the DoD 5015.02 Electronic Records Management Software Applications Design Criteria Standard.

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As most readers of this blog know, I’ve worked with DoD 5015.02 records management solutions for over 20 years. I’ve built them. I’ve sold them. I’ve consulted on their use in civilian agencies, intelligence organizations, the White House, and the military. No one in the world is a bigger authority on these solutions than I am. And I have spent the last eight years trying to expose to Congress and the American public the undeniable inability of DoD 5015.02 solutions to manage the lifecycle of government information – and the fact that, despite paying billions of dollars for these solutions for more than two decades, no agency has ever implemented even one solution in a real-world production environment.

But to my great regret, nothing I’ve done over the last eight years changed even one thing about Federal records management.

Instead, for all my efforts, I have lost my job, lost the only home my children ever knew, lost my top secret clearance, spent most of my lifesavings, and reduced my household income by more than half.

And last November, the IRS, long the enforcement branch of the Federal government, sent my family a bill for $285,728 in back taxes in 2018 – the year IBM fired me, I was on unemployment, and I made less than $100,000.

Here is a redacted copy of the original IRS bill:

In January, working closely with my tax attorney, I sent the IRS an appeal of this charge. In June, I received the IRS’s rejection of that appeal.  I have no doubt the only way this tax bill will ever be rescinded is if I stop challenging the government on their records management practices.

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Given the tragedies currently unfolding in Afghanistan – and the inevitable tragedies that the DoD 5015.02 Standard will cause in the near future – it is extremely important to me that everyone understands that I have done absolutely everything I could within the law to expose the failures of DoD 5015.02-based records management.

With this in mind, my next post will detail everything I’ve done over nearly a decade to bring the failures of DoD 5015.02 to the attention of the government and the American people.

Look for that post soon.

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