Today, Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Ranking Member Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) highlighted a report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) titled, "Key Federal Agencies Need to Address Potentially Duplicative Investments," that found that a few federal agencies may have duplicative information technology (IT) investments. According to the report, up to $321 million has been lost to these duplicative programs between FY2008 and 2013.
In drafting the report, GAO reviewed 590 IT investments throughout the three agencies with the highest levels of IT spending- the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Of the investments reviewed, only 12 programs throughout the agencies were identified as potentially duplicative. Since GAO conducted its review, DOD has already consolidated two programs and has expressed intent to cancel a third. GAO recommends that DHS and HHS conduct further analyses to help direct consolidation efforts and suggests that DOD develop a plan to cancel the third duplicative program.
"Our federal government sets aside $82 billion annually for IT investment" said Chairman Carper. "With so much money on the line, it is critical that our government agencies are doing everything possible to save taxpayer moneys. An important part of this effort is to ensure that we are not investing in programs that unnecessarily overlap or are duplicative. While today's GAO report does highlight some areas where we need to improve, it is promising that GAO found that only 12 of the 590 investments reviewed were duplicative. As I like to say, "the road to improvement is always under construction,' and clearly we still have work to do to continue to improve federal IT investments and reduce duplication in IT and throughout the federal government. I look forward to continuing to work with Dr. Coburn, my Congressional colleagues and with the Administration, particularly officials from DOD, HHS and DHS, on this ongoing effort."
"Today's GAO report outlines why effective oversight of the $82 billion spent yearly on IT is essential," Dr. Coburn said. "As the GAO report highlights, the government has failed to make gains in improving productivity in IT. We have seen too many delayed and over-budget projects, including some that are duplicative. Specifically, in their sample study of IT investments at DHS, DOD and HHS, the GAO found $321 million spent on duplicative projects over the last five years. As Ranking Member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, I will continue to conduct additional oversight of IT and pressure agencies to follow GAO's recommendations to reduce unnecessary and wasteful duplication."