WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Sen. Susan Collins applauded today’s release of the “IT Dashboard,” an online tool designed to give Americans unfiltered access to information about federal technology spending, from data on project status to evaluation reports.
Inviting the public into the process is an important part of holding government accountable for results and progress, she said. But federal agencies, including the Congress, must have better tools as well.
“This sort of public transparency must be paired with a strengthening of federal oversight,” Collins said. “The ‘IT Dashboard’ is an important step in that direction, but it is not the full solution.
“With the federal government set to spend about $71 billion in fiscal year 2009 on IT projects, we need a more robust and aggressive approach to federal oversight. The eyes of everyone — including the eyes of the Congress – should be on these critical expenditures.”
In April, Sen. Collins helped reintroduced an aggressive measure to enhance agency and congressional oversight of major federal IT investments. The proposal is S-920, the Information Technology Investment Oversight Enhancement and Waste Prevention Act of 2009.
The bill would require federal agency staff to track IT project performance, to set benchmarks and to alert Congress if deadlines are missed.
Through these increased planning and reporting requirements, the bill would beef-up accountability and require significant, concrete actions be taken to keep IT investments on track.
Should any projects veer off that track, the measure would require corrective action be taken. If agencies failed to correct severe shortfalls, the bill would allow for a suspension of committed federal funds.
According to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), federal agencies had identified approximately 451 IT projects, totaling more than $26 billion for fiscal year 2009, as being poorly planned, poorly performing, or both.
“Much is at stake here and much is at risk,” Collins said. “We need to do everything we can to ensure that the public’s hard-earned money is well spent and that our government’s IT demands are adequately met.”