Agencies Need to Strengthen Oversight of Billions of Dollars in Operations and Maintenance Investments

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on November 17, 2012

Why GAO Did This Study – Of the $79 billion federal agencies budgeted for IT in 2011, $54 billion (about 69 percent) was reported to have been spent on the operations and maintenance of existing legacy IT systems—commonly referred to as steady state investments. Given the size and magnitude of these investments, it is essential that agencies effectively manage them to ensure they continue to meet agency needs. As such, OMB directs agencies to periodically examine the performance of such investments against, among other things, established cost, schedule, and performance goals by performing annual OAs. GAO was asked to determine the extent to which federal agencies analyze the performance of steady state investments in accordance with OMB guidance. To do so, GAO (1) selected five agencies, DOD, HHS, DHS, Treasury, and VA, which reported spending $4.6 billion annually on major steady state investments; and (2) and compared their fiscal year 2011 OAs to OMB criteria. GAO also analyzed documents and interviewed agency officials regarding any variances as well as their causes. to periodically examine the performance of such investments against, among other things, established cost, schedule, and performance goals by performing annual OAs. GAO was asked to determine the extent to which federal agencies analyze the performance of steady state investments in accordance with OMB guidance. To do so, GAO (1) selected five agencies, DOD, HHS, DHS, Treasury, and VA, which reported spending $4.6 billion annually on major steady state investments; and (2) and compared their fiscal year 2011 OAs to OMB criteria. GAO also analyzed documents and interviewed agency officials regarding any variances as well as their causes.”

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