recommended reading

Carper to introduce federal IT investment bill in Senate

Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee leaders plan to introduce a bill today aimed at providing Congress and OMB more detailed data about agencies' information technology investments so they can determine which should continue and which should be shut down.

Comment on this article in The Forum.Federal high-tech projects are expected to cost $71 billion this year, and a recent GAO report showed that $25 billion of those investments are poorly planned, poorly performing, or both. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Joseph Lieberman and ranking member Susan Collins have joined Federal Financial Management Subcommittee Chairman Thomas Carper, D-Del., in co-sponsoring the bill.

Their measure would require agencies to report regularly on major deviations in cost, schedule, and performance on technological initiatives. In addition, it would set up what Carper called an "IT strike force" - a panel of experts from inside and outside government that agencies could call upon when managing complex IT investments.

At a subcommittee hearing today, Carper said waste and duplication are all too common throughout government agencies, while OMB lacks enough information to hold agencies accountable and decide whether to "pull the plug" on failed investments. Carper grilled OMB officials for not submitting annual reports to Congress as mandated by the 1994 Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act. The office has only issued three reports in 14 years, he said.

OMB federal procurement policy director Paul Denett said he did not have "a good explanation" for those omissions but noted some of the information is included in the president's annual budget request each February. GAO IT director David Powner said one reason is that the administration is "reluctant to highlight projects with shortfalls" because such disclosures would embarrass agencies. Sometimes agencies need to be embarrassed, Carper countered.

Dennett told the subcommittee that processes are in place to ensure that lapse does not happen again. Carper also slammed agencies for "rebaselining" some projects to hide cost overruns or schedule delays from Congress, backing up his claims with a new GAO report that shows nearly half of all agencies' IT investments get that treatment.

Some agencies - like the Agriculture, Commerce, and Veterans Affairs departments - have "rebaselined" more than five times on a single investment, he said.

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.