Crop Insurance Program:

Nationwide Computer Acquisition Is Inappropriate at This Time

IMTEC-93-20: Published: Mar 8, 1993. Publicly Released: Mar 8, 1993.

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GAO reviewed the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation's (FCIC) planned computer acquisition, focusing on: (1) risks FCIC faces by proceeding with a nationwide computer acquisition project; (2) whether FCIC needs to proceed with the project to avoid disrupting the crop insurance program; and (3) whether other options are available to meet immediate FCIC computer equipment needs.

GAO found that: (1) organizational changes in the Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the crop insurance program altered FCIC information technology needs and created risks for FCIC-planned acquisitions; (2) proposed changes to the service approach at FCIC field offices would alter business processes and information flow among the field offices; (3) despite uncertainties in its organization and mission, FCIC believes the project is needed to meet immediate computer needs and ensure delivery of the crop insurance program; (4) FCIC has not analyzed its immediate needs or determined which offices need additional equipment; and (5) if restructuring or program changes occur, FCIC will need to evaluate how its technology needs will change and adjust its modernization plans accordingly.

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: To ensure that FCIC does not waste millions of dollars to acquire information technology that may not effectively meet its needs, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Manager, FCIC, to cancel the nationwide computer acquisition project.

    Agency Affected: Department of Agriculture

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: USDA cancelled the planned procurement on March 1, 1993.

    Recommendation: To ensure that FCIC does not waste millions of dollars to acquire information technology that may not effectively meet its needs, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Manager, FCIC, to determine and document FCIC critical information technology needs to ensure continued delivery of the crop insurance program until FCIC's future is clarified.

    Agency Affected: Department of Agriculture

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: FCIC documented some critical needs and presented this information to GAO on June 25, 1993. FCIC completed gathering key inventory information and then pursued a limited buy of technology to meet these needs.

    Recommendation: To ensure that FCIC does not waste millions of dollars to acquire information technology that may not effectively meet its needs, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Manager, FCIC, to pursue options to address FCIC immediate needs, such as using available contracts or awarding a limited-scope computer equipment and software contract.

    Agency Affected: Department of Agriculture

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: FCIC used available contracts to meet its needs.

    Recommendation: To ensure that FCIC does not waste millions of dollars to acquire information technology that may not effectively meet its needs, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Manager, FCIC, to reevaluate, after the operating structure of the Department is determined and changes to the federal crop insurance program are known, FCIC plans for replacing its computer equipment and software nationwide and determine the most cost-effective technological approach to meeting nationwide needs, including the possibility of using the Department of Agriculture's consolidated farm service agency procurement program.

    Agency Affected: Department of Agriculture

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: FCIC reevaluated its information technology acquisition plans and is now expecting to use USDA's consolidated farm service agency procurement program known as Info Share.

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