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Hearing of House Armed Services Committee - Challenges to Effective Acquisition and Management of Information Technology Systems

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Location: Washington, DC


Hearing of House Armed Services Committee - Challenges to Effective Acquisition and Management of Information Technology Systems

Defense Acquisition Reform Panel Chairman Rob Andrews

Opening Statement

Hearing on Challenges to Effective Acquisition and Management of Information Technology Systems

"Welcome to today's hearing on Challenges to Effective Acquisition and Management of Information Technology Systems. The panel has held a number of hearings to date to explore how we measure the performance of the acquisition system in meeting two critical goals: 1) rapidly filling warfighter needs; and 2) protecting taxpayers.

"Today we move on to the next question on our work plan: what are the root causes of failure in the acquisition system, particularly as they relate to information technology (IT) systems? We start today with the hypothesis that IT systems are qualitatively different from traditional hardware-oriented acquisition programs, and yet the Defense Department tries to force these IT programs into an ill-suited acquisition process that takes 5-15 years to develop and deploy a weapon system.

"For IT systems that increase functionality on 18 month cycles, that acquisition system fails the warfighter miserably. There are some statistics related to the performance of IT programs within this process that are telling:

· Only 16 percent of all IT projects complete on time and on budget.

· 31 percent are cancelled before completion.

· The remaining 53 percent are late and over budget, with the typical cost growth exceeding the original budget more than 89 percent.

· Of the IT projects that are completed, the final product contains only 61 percent of the originally specified features.

"That data seems to indicate that there are some significant issues with how the Defense Department acquires and manages IT programs that I believe deserve special attention.

"We have with us the Mr. Tim Harp, the current Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Command, Control, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance & Information Technology Acquisition; the Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Software Engineering Institute, Dr. Paul Nielsen; and Dr. Ronald Kerber, who recently served as the Co-Chair of the congressionally-mandated Defense Science Board Task Force on Department of Defense Policies and Procedures for the Acquisition of Information Technology. Gentlemen, we appreciate the fact that you are here today to share your expertise in acquisition with us.

"Let me now turn to our panel's ranking member, Mr. Conaway of Texas, for his opening remarks."


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