WASHINGTON ― The Pentagon’s abrupt decision to cancel a new travel management system meant to replace its antiquated software has drawn scrutiny from the House Oversight and Accountability Committee.

Rep. Nancy Mace, R-S.C., who chairs the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Information Technology, and Government Innovation, invited the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, Gilbert Cisneros, to testify before her panel on July 18. She wants him to explain why the Defense Department suddenly scrapped implementation of the MyTravel software.

“The rapid reversal on MyTravel ― a system being developed for [the department] for over four years at a direct cost of more than $20 million ― is troubling,” Mace wrote in a letter to Cisneros on Friday. “It inevitably raises broader questions about [the department’s] ability to manage its finances and information technology.”

Mace, who also sits on the Armed Services Committee, also asked Elizabeth Field, director of the Government Accountability Office’s defense capabilities and management team, to testify at the same hearing.

The $374 million MyTravel contract, initially awarded to SAP Concur in 2018, would have replaced the Pentagon’s 25-year-old Defense Travel System. An internal Defense Department memo in May noted that offices would no longer be required to use MyTravel and that the Pentagon would stop using the software altogether on Sept. 13.

The Mace letter points to a 2019 GAO study, which found the Defense Travel System “generated nearly $1 billion in improper payments” from fiscal 2016 through fiscal 2019.

Pentagon officials briefed House Oversight and Accountability Committee staff on the MyTravel cancellation in June. Mace’s letter notes the Defense Department was unprepared to implement the new software because of a delay in integrating it with financial management system upgrades.

“Absent this integration, the officials said, forced adoption of MyTravel would reduce the auditability of those components,” Mace wrote. The Pentagon has never passed any of the five audits it’s undergone.

Mace has also asked Cisneros to provide more details on the cancellation, including the issues with financial management system integration, in writing by July 14.

Bryant Harris is the Congress reporter for Defense News. He has covered U.S. foreign policy, national security, international affairs and politics in Washington since 2014. He has also written for Foreign Policy, Al-Monitor, Al Jazeera English and IPS News.

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