Automated Information Systems:

Schedule Delays and Cost Overruns Plague DOD Systems

IMTEC-89-36: Published: May 10, 1989. Publicly Released: May 18, 1989.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO provided information on eight Department of Defense (DOD) automated information systems being developed by the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Defense Logistics Agency.

GAO found that: (1) all eight systems experienced significant cost growth; (2) the cost to develop and deploy the systems totalled about $2 billion, which was almost twice the original cost estimates; (3) cost growth estimates ranged from $31 million for the Army's Civilian Personnel System, to $446 million for the Navy's Standard Automated Financial System; (4) the DOD components had four of the eight systems in development for at least 8 years and abandoned development of two systems after spending $237 million; (5) the completion dates for all but one of the remaining six systems were delayed 3 to 7 years and none of the systems were scheduled for full deployment until after 1990; (6) DOD underestimated the costs for some systems, since its components did not provide current, accurate, and complete cost information; (7) the Major Automated Information System Review Council (MAISRC) did not enforce established policies, procedures, and criteria for major system reviews; and (8) MAISRC had not reviewed three of the eight systems, even though the systems required its review.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Executive Level Group has released its action plan for corporate information management, which is intended to enhance availability and standardization of information throughout DOD. Further, DOD has reviewed management of MAISRC and moved the committee from the DOD Comptroller to the the Assistant Secretary for C3I.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should review and revise, as appropriate, the management control and decisionmaking process for major automated information systems development.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: MAISRC has been established as a committee of the Defense Acquisition Board (DAB). The DAB committee will operate under current MAISRC procedures and will review all automated information systems prior to DAB meetings.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should give special attention to rigorously enforcing established policies.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: MAISRC has established a quarterly reporting system to obtain cost and schedule information for all major automated information systems. Relying on information provided by the services, MAISRC believes that the reporting system will identify problems related to cost growth and schedule delays.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should give special attention to establishing an early warning system to identify problems in automated information system development efforts.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Executive Level Group has released its action plan for corporate information management, which is intended to enhance availability and standardization of information throughout DOD. Further, DOD has reviewed management of MAISRC and moved the committee from the DOD Comptroller to the Assistant Secretary for C3I.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should give special attention to examining the role of MAISRC, including its policies for conducting milestone reviews during the development phase, delegating oversight responsibility to DOD components, and relying on in-process reviews.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: A recent reorganization of the DOD Information Resources Management (IRM) staff created the Directorate for Resources and Assessment. The Directorate will participate in the preparation, review, and disposition of IRM budget requests. It is also responsible for assessing information technology budget exhibits for completeness and compliance with IRM policy guidance and DOD budget guidance.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should give special attention to ensuring that Congress is consistently provided accurate, current, and complete cost information for major automated information systems, including timely notification when internal DOD cost estimates exceed the initial cost estimate by 25 percent or more.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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