Senators Collins, Carper Praise Move Requiring Agencies To Develop Anti-Waste Action Plans for IT Projects

WASHINGTON – Senator Susan Collins, Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, joined with Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.) today to praise Vivek Kundra, the Federal Government’s first Chief Information Officer, for once again heeding their advice and taking important steps to root out wasteful spending that is too prevalent in agency information technology (IT) investments.

The Administration implemented a key provision of the Carper-Collins legislation, S. 920, The IT Oversight Enhancement and Waste Prevention Act of 2009, by sending a memo to all agencies requiring them to develop a corrective action plan for all IT investments that are over-budget and years behind schedule, or stop spending money on them. The Carper-Collins legislation recently was approved by the full Senate and has been sent to the U.S. House of Representatives for further consideration.

"Aggressive oversight of the nearly $80 billion in taxpayer money that the federal government spends on IT investments annually is critical to helping ensure the prevention of waste, fraud and abuse," said Senator Collins. "We have already seen hundreds of millions of dollars wasted by the federal government due to poorly planned and poorly managed IT projects. I applaud the Administration’s efforts to hold agencies’ feet to the fire on the performance of high-risk IT investments. These effective measures to prevent cost and schedule overruns and performance shortfalls are the type of oversight mechanisms Senator Carper and I have been encouraging for major IT investments for years. We will continue to push agencies and the Administration to thoroughly and properly plan IT projects and be aggressive in overseeing their implementation and operations."

Said Senator Carper: "For years my friend Senator Collins and I have been trying to get the previous Administration and this one to focus on the serious waste that happens when agencies don’t maintain vigorous oversight over the billions of dollars they spend on IT investments. For too long, those in key leadership positions have kept their heads in the sand and allowed these problems to get out of hand. This memorandum is an important step towards holding senior agency leaders accountable for their decisions and stopping the wasteful spending before it begins. I commend the Administration and especially Mr. Kundra for tackling this problem head on and forcing agencies to make the tough decisions required to trim the federal budget and spend taxpayer dollars wisely."

Senators Collins and Carper recently released a report that highlighted the fact that agencies have been uploading inaccurate and out-dated cost and schedule information onto the IT Dashboard, with some information nearly a year old. In response, the Senators sent a letter to the heads of agencies, requesting that timely and accurate information be uploaded onto the IT Dashboard, giving the public the current status of federal IT investments.