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GAO faults defense IT acquisitions

Mar. 28, 2014 - 03:45AM   |  
By MICHAEL PECK   |   Comments
This picture taken 26 December 2011 show
GAO examined 15 DoD major automated information system programs and found they were frequently delayed, overbudget and underperforming. (AFP/Getty Images)
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Pentagon IT projects are frequently overbudget, underperforming and late, according to a Government Accountability Office audit.

GAO examined 15 Department of Defense major automated information system (MAIS) programs, two of which did not have cost information available. MAIS projects accounted for $4.5 billion of the $35 billion the Pentagon spent on IT.

Of the 13 MAIS programs for which GAO could obtain cost, "11 experienced changes in their cost estimates, including seven that experienced increases ranging from 4 to 2,233 percent and four that experienced decreases ranging from 4 to 86 percent," said GAO. The agency also found 13 experienced schedule changes, “including 12 that had slippages ranging from a few months to six years, and one that accelerated its schedule."

Eight of the 11 MAIS programs with performance data available did not meet their targets.

GAO also assessed risk management for three programs. The Defense Health Agency's Theater Medical Information Program – Joint Increment 2 has implemented key risk management practices, while the Defense Logistics Agency's Defense Agencies Initiative program has begun taking some measures, including establishing a risk management board. However, the Navy's Global Combat Support System – Marine Corps program did not update its risk tracking log during a five-month period in 2013.

The Navy program, however, did use requirements management best practices, while the Defense Logistics Agency did not track significant deviations in performance nor did the Defense Health Agency maintain complete traceability "between its requirements and work products," GAO said.

GAO offered recommendations for the various programs, including tracking cost and schedule deviations, and establishing comprehensive risk logs.

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