Secret Service Has More Computer Capacity Than It Needs

GGD-81-43: Published: Mar 17, 1981. Publicly Released: Mar 17, 1981.

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The Secret Service relies heavily on data processing to carry out its protective and law enforcement functions. GAO reviewed the use of computers by the Service to evaluate how effectively these resources are managed and how well they contribute towards the accomplishment of its mission.

The Secret Service has computer resources in excess of its requirements. Because the Service did not define its data processing needs beforehand, it has acquired two separate and identical computers when one would have been sufficient for its workload. The Service has no basis for determining that it needs two computers or if it is realizing any advantages from having two. GAO believes that one of the Service's two computers has enough processing power and memory capacity to handle its current demands as well as any planned increases. However, before the specific excess equipment can be identified, the Service will need to measure precisely what its computer needs are and assure itself that these needs are being met in the most efficient and effective manner.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. 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 Director of the U.S. Secret Service should obtain and install the necessary performance monitoring tools to measure computer utilization and use this information as a basis to ensure that data processing resources are being used as efficiently as possible.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Treasury: United States Secret Service

  2. 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 Director of the U.S. Secret Service should perform a cost-benefit analysis of its data processing requirements and determine the equipment necessary to support these needs. At a minimum, this analysis should establish criteria to define and quantify the computer response time, security, and backup requirements for the Service to carry out its mission; explain the justification of these requirements; and demonstrate how the equipment necessary to meet these needs was decided on.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Treasury: United States Secret Service

 

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