Information Management:

Problems in Managing and Planning of Information Resources Persist at the Army Corps of Engineers

CED-82-28: Published: Jun 9, 1982. Publicly Released: Jun 9, 1982.

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GAO was asked to review the Army Corps of Engineers' effectiveness in planning, acquiring, managing, and using information resources, specifically automatic data processing (ADP).

The Corps has become increasingly dependent on information resources, including computers and telecommunications, software systems, and personnel, to accomplish its mission and program objectives. However, the agency has experienced numerous problems in the management, acquisition, and use of its ADP resources. Its organizational structure and management approach have a number of weaknesses, including the lack of: (1) a single focus of responsibility or coherent system for managing information resources; (2) a formal oversight mechanism to ensure effective management and use of information systems and computer software; (3) an enforcement mechanism for controlling and coordinating the development of software applications; (4) a comprehensive planning process to help manage, acquire, and use information resources; and (5) a uniform method for evaluating the use and performance of computers and related information resources. A major computer hardware replacement program, CE-80, has been plagued by planning and management problems which raise doubts that the program will provide the most effective and efficient way to meet future requirements. A central office for implementing a comprehensive management program for information resources is needed. GAO believes that the Paperwork Reduction Act offers the Corps an appropriate framework for strengthening its management of information resources, including ADP.

Status Legend:

More Info
  • Review Pending-GAO has not yet assessed implementation status.
  • Open-Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-implemented-Actions that satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-not implemented-While the intent of the recommendation has not been satisfied, time or circumstances have rendered the recommendation invalid.
    • Review Pending
    • Open
    • Closed - implemented
    • Closed - not implemented

    Recommendations for Executive Action

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should direct the Chief of Engineers to direct the senior official to conform the organizational structure, policies, and programs of the information resource management office to those of the Army as they become available.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should direct the Chief of Engineers to direct staff and program offices and field offices to establish a direct and systematic reporting relationship with the central information resource management office.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should direct the Chief of Engineers to issue a directive establishing clear authority and responsibility of the senior official for information resource management issues.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should direct the Chief of Engineers to direct the recently designated senior official to develop and implement a comprehensive program for managing the Corps information resources. Also, the comprehensive program should include: (1) a formal oversight mechanism to guide and direct the use and management of information systems; and (2) formal procedures and policies to control software and system development projects.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should direct the Chief of Engineers to establish a comprehensive planning process for information resources, including ADP. This process should provide a mechanism to: (1) establish strategies, goals, and objectives; (2) identify and define functional information requirements; (3) establish priorities for these requirements; and (4) measure the use of ADP resources and report on their performance.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should direct the Chief of Engineers to develop a comprehensive software plan to facilitate the transition of software systems to a future computer system.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should direct the Chief of Engineers to systematically update and define functional user requirements to better justify the acquisition of additional computer resources, evaluate alternative acquisition strategies, and determine requirements for communications and software.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should direct the Chief of Engineers to determine existing computer performance capabilities which have been increased by recent computer acquisitions and evaluate the impact on long-range plans and workload projections.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should direct the Chief of Engineers to perform a detailed review and analysis of major software systems to determine whether they should be continued, redesigned, or eliminated.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should direct the Chief of Engineers to establish a separate information resource management office with clearly defined authority over information resource activities. This office should include the functions of information resources management, the Automation Management Office, and the CE-80 Project Office.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should direct the Chief of Engineers to conduct a thorough cost-benefit analysis of alternative redesign strategies for the Corps of Engineers' Management Information Systems to ensure that the government incurs the lowest total life-cycle cost.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

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