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GAO Report Dings Agencies For Lax IT Investment Oversight GAO Report Dings Agencies For Lax IT Investment Oversight

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GAO Report Dings Agencies For Lax IT Investment Oversight

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photo of Josh Smith
November 19, 2012

A newly released report by the Government Accountability Office criticizes three major federal departments for not developing policies for effectively keeping track of the billions of dollars spent on information technology.

The Defense, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs Departments were faulted for not developing policies for analyzing whether $2.1 billion in IT investments are performing as expected and should be continued.

"Given the size and magnitude of these investments, it is essential that agencies effectively manage them to ensure they continue to meet agency needs," GAO officials wrote in the report.

According to the report, DOD and VA officials said they monitor performance through other programs, but the GAO said the monitoring falls short of recommendations made by the Office of Management and Budget.

The report also criticized the Homeland Security and Health and Human Services Departments for not fully analyzing all of their investments. 

The top lawmakers on the Senate Homeland Security Federal Financial Management Subcommittee said the report highlights the need for officials to better police the roughly $54 billion spent operating and maintaining federal IT systems each year.

"The fact that a number of agencies are failing to properly assess these investments during this key phase is troubling," Subcommittee Chairman Tom Carper, D-Del., said in a statement. "You can't manage what you can't measure, and information technology investments are no exception."

Ranking member Scott Brown, R-Mass., said there is "no excuse" for wasteful spending.

"Instead of wasting money on outdated information technology," he said, "the federal government should be investing in smart and strategic ways that show a return on investment."

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