GAO Report on Gov’t Waste Targets IT Programs

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Image: Michael Brown

The 345-page Government Accountability Office report, revealing “unnecessary duplication, overlap or fragmentation” in federal programs, landed with a thud on Congress’ doorstep earlier this week.

And, as observers pick through its findings, detailing more than 30 general areas of overlap and a host of duplicated programs, they will find a number of federal IT programs and initiatives targeted in the report.

InformationWeek reports that “several key aspects of the government’s implementation of IT” were singled out in the report as “areas where overlap could be eliminated to help the government provide more efficient and effective services.”

Specifically, the report drew attention to business systems in the Defense Department, enterprise architecture, data centers and electronic health records.

Many of the issues pose challenges governmentwide.

For example, overlap between enterprise architecture — what InformationWeek characterized as the “blue prints” federal agencies use to modernize legacy government IT systems — are too expensive and running behind schedule.

Meanwhile, GAO gave its stamp of approval on the government’s proposals to close a ballooning number of unwieldy and costly data centers but recommended federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra and the Office of Management and Budget continue to play a strong role to ensure such plans are working efficiently.

On the issue of electronic health records, the report advised the Defense Department and the Department of Veterans Affairs to continue to work closely together on an interoperable EHR system.

“Although the financial benefit of reducing duplication in this area is to be determined, a joint approach to electronic health record modernization should not only result in cost savings but also it should improve the departments’ ability to share health information,” the report stated.

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1 Comment

  1. GAO’s report is right on the money. Unfortunately, this is highlighting the same problems that govt has struggled with since the Clinger Cohen Act was signed. This is why the IT Acquisition Advisory Council (IT-AAC) was established, to become a transformation catalyst not vested in the status quo. The reason why little progress has been made has been documented in the recently published IT-AAC Roadmap for Sustainable IT Acquisition Reform; http://www.IT-AAC.org. Instead of focusing on what is broken, it focuses on what needs to happen to overcome the 6 deadly sins, one of which is trying to fix today’s problems with the same thinking that got us their. Anyone looking at the dozens of failed IT programs over the past 10 years will find the usual suspects and antiquated acquisition processes. So why is govt not holding these contractors/FFRDC’s accountable for this failures. Its called revolving door.

    The nation is facing a crisis of epic proportions, and will have a choice of either getting rid of the rice bowls or seeing their programs decimated. I hope and pray that recognize that this time its real, and that business as usual is no longer an option.

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