The Department of Defense's Synchronized Predeployment and Operational Tracker, or SPOT, was selected as the 2009 Government Winner of the 21st Century Achievement Award by Computerworld Honors Program.

Founded by International Data Group in 1988, the Computerworld Honors Program is governed by the not-for-profit Computerworld Information Technology Awards Foundation. In its 21st year, Computerworld Honors is the longest running global program to honor individuals and organizations that use information technology to benefit society. Notable past recipients include Amazon (, Apple Computer (iPhone), Zipcar (Car Sharing), and General Motors Corporation (OnStar).

SPOT's award is the result of a comprehensive review by Computerworld of 159 nominations that detailed innovative and world-changing IT applications. Government agencies, defense contractors and combatant commanders use SPOT to analyze, track, process, and integrate contractors in support of mission needs.

Developed and implemented by a partnership between the Office of the Secretary of Defense: Acquisitions, Technology and Logistics, the Business Transformation Agency, and Army Material Command, SPOT's directive was to create and operate a single, integrated database that provides contractor visibility in theaters of operation. Use of information technology was the only viable approach for providing an accurate, near real-time census of contingency contractors.

With mandates from Congress and U.S. Central Command, AMC contracted with Booz Allen Hamilton to develop SPOT, which needed to provide unprecedented visibility into contractor movements and capabilities. To accomplish this task, the program developers utilized proven concepts previously implemented by the banking (ATM) and package delivery (FedEx/UPS) industries.

"We are extremely proud of this award," says Gary Motsek, Assistance Deputy Under Secretary of Defense, Office of Program Support, who is responsible for overseeing contractors. "Even more importantly, we are proud of developing and implementing SPOT on such a fast track to better serve the military in theater, our interagency partners, and to meet Congressional requirements.

"In less than two years, and with only a $14 million budget, Lt. Col. Richard Faulkner and his SPOT team transformed a small-scale AMC program designed to manage small numbers into an expanded, robust system able to assist multiple agencies and combatant commanders. Typically, this kind of new enterprise system development would take at least five years to field and a much larger budget."

According to Faulkner, SPOT was able to deliver such rapid cost-effective results by following three tenets: 1) using existing capabilities rather than creating new ones, 2) implementing a service-oriented architecture based on a proven, scalable, high-performing financial systems model, and 3) utilizing a proven universal tracking capability model. This repurposing of existing capabilities to military usage is extremely effective in reducing costs, accelerating implementation time, and streamlining resources.

As a result, emerging demand for SPOT is growing. CENTCOM is in the process of expanding the program beyond the Middle East so that it will be globally implemented by 2011. Additionally, through interagency cooperation, the Department of State is mandating the program's use for contractors and the Veterans Administration is repurposing information through SPOT to certify deployments on issues that include illness and benefits.

Fully operational, SPOT has far exceeded its goals; the National Defense establishment has designated it as the single authoritative repository for contingency contractor deployments.