Today, Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, and Susan Collins (R-Maine), Ranking Member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, highlighted a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) that found $1.2 billion in duplicative spending on information technology (IT) investments at the Department of Defense (DOD) and Department of Energy (DOE) for fiscal years 2007 through 2012. The federal government spends more than $79 billion each year on information technology. The report was requested by Senators Carper and Collins, as well as Homeland Security Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.).
The report, Information Technology: Departments of Defense and Energy Need to Address Potentially Duplicative Investments, found a total of 37 investments between the two agencies that were potentially duplicative. The GAO study reviewed 11 percent (810 investments) out of the total number of IT investments across the government and calls into questions how much more potential duplication exists.
"Now more than ever, we must be better stewards of taxpayer dollars in all programs and learn how to do more with less. The federal government's information technology portfolio is no exception," said Sen. Carper. "This report is just the latest example of mismanagement and waste within our government's costly information technology portfolio. The administration has made significant progress in recent years in shutting down failed projects and forcing agencies to consider more cost-effective technology solution. We must continue to transform the government's use of information technology by identifying and eliminating duplication as well. That's why I, along with Senators Scott Brown, Lieberman, and Collins, introduced the Information Technology Investment Management Act of 2011, which calls for greater transparency when it comes to the cost and performance of information technology investments in the federal government, as well as increased agency accountability for failed projects. I hope this report draws more attention to this issue. I look forward to working with my colleagues and the Administration to ensure that we continue to improve our nation's information technology management."
"Federal IT programs have been plagued with cost overruns, program failures, and duplication. Taxpayers should not have to pay for federal IT projects twice," said Sen. Collins. "It should not take a GAO report for agencies to realize the potential for costly duplication within their IT portfolios. Agencies should always be working to identify and eliminate duplicative investments, which will help to eliminate waste and save the taxpayers' money."
In the report, GAO pointed to management issues, such as mis-categorization of investments within agencies as limiting their ability to avoid unnecessary systems, thereby increasing duplication. This latest report adds to recent GAO studies highlighting hundreds of unnecessary programs and IT investments across the federal government that are providing similar or duplicative functions. For example, GAO found four DOD Navy personnel assignment IT investments -- one system for officers, one for enlisted personnel, one for reservists and a general assignment system -- each of which responsible for managing similar functions.
To view the report, please visit: http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-241