Washington, DC –Senator Susan Collins, Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, applauded the Plan to Reform Federal Information Technology Management announced by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) yesterday. The OMB plan would establish a framework and specific timeframes to improve contracting for federal IT investment, train career IT acquisition professionals, and learn from private-sector successes.
“The federal government spends nearly $80 billion a year on IT projects. About one-third are unlikely to meet their cost, schedule, or performance goals,” said Senator Collins. “I am pleased that OMB is implementing a framework and specific timeframes to improve performance of major IT investments, train career professionals, and cultivate best practices from the private-sector when we budget for, buy, and execute major IT projects in the Federal government.
“OMB’s efforts highlight the need for the legislation I have sponsored with Senator Tom Carper to address systemic weaknesses through greater transparency and oversight. I urge the House of Representatives to act quickly to further improve federal IT procurement by passing the bipartisan Information Technology Investment Oversight Enhancement and Waste Prevention Act of 2009 that we authored. The additional reforms would help ensure that taxpayer dollars are invested wisely.”
The Carper-Collins bill would improve agency and Congressional oversight of major Federal IT investments. The bill would ensure that responsible agency professionals track project performance, alert Congress when projects begin to fall behind, and take steps to rectify major shortfalls for projects that have run off course.
At the request of Senator Collins and Senator Tom Carper, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) conducted a review of federal agency IT investments. In its report, released in October 2009, GAO identified 11 mismanaged federal IT investments, which would likely cost taxpayers $3 billion more than the original price tag. For example, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s James Webb Space Telescope and the Department of Veterans Affairs Health Information System Modernization would collectively overrun their original budgets by $798.7 million.
“I appreciate OMB and members of the House of Representatives working closely with me and other members of the Committee to pass this important legislation to strengthen oversight of technology investments and to help prevent the waste and misuse of taxpayer dollars such as those identified by GAO,” Senator Collins continued.