Information Technology:

Need To Improve Management of ACDA's Automatic Data Processing and Operations Analysis Functions

NSIAD-83-66: Published: Sep 30, 1983. Publicly Released: Sep 30, 1983.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO examined the management of computer-based support functions at the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA).

GAO found that, at the end of fiscal year (FY) 1982, ACDA: (1) abolished its Office of Operations Analysis (OA); (2) transferred its analysts to other parts of ACDA and gave them new titles; (3) cancelled its contract for a DEC-20 computer; and (4) kept its small Wang computer and purchased timesharing services from other agencies. ACDA stated that OA was abolished, in part, to help cope with a FY 1983 budget reduction and claimed that over $1.3 million was saved in FY 1983 by relocating the facility. However, GAO estimated that only about $683,000 in savings can properly be attributed to ACDA actions regarding OA and computer support. GAO found that, currently, ACDA does not adequately plan for or evaluate the use of automatic data processing (ADP) systems. Moreover, ACDA is not complying with Office of Management and Budget (OMB) guidance on computer security, although GAO is unaware of any loss of data. Within ACDA, there is disagreement concerning the adequacy of operations analysis capabilities to meet future needs. Further, ACDA has limited access to Department of Defense operations analysis resources.

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 Director, ACDA, should develop a comprehensive ADP planning process, which requires top management involvement, well supported justification of stated needs, and periodic feedback from users.

    Agency Affected: United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: ACDA completed an agencywide task force review that appears to: (1) address areas not previously covered; and (2) meet the recommendation. Although a key ADP official informed GAO that written feedback on certain programs is not being solicited on a regular basis, GAO believes that ACDA overall actions warrant the closing of this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Director, ACDA, should implement an ADP cost accounting system which complies with OMB Circular A-121.

    Agency Affected: United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency

    Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: ACDA officials stated that they can now obtain the data called for in this recommendation, but have resisted doing so on a regular basis. They assert that to do so would be unnecessary and time consuming. Given this continued resistance, the age of the report, and the effort that would be required to reaffirm the need for action, GAO believes that this recommendation should be closed.

    Recommendation: The Director, ACDA, should establish a computer security program which complies with Transmittal Memorandum Number 1 to OMB Circular A-71.

    Agency Affected: United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: ACDA upgraded security of its ADP operations in response to the report. However, the agency has not provided information to demonstrate that the upgrade meets all of the specific requirements of TM 1/OMB A-71.

    Recommendation: The Director, ACDA, should periodically assess ACDA operations analysis needs and capabilities, and determine what adjustments in allocated resources, organizational structures, and access to other agencies' resources are required to best meet identified needs.

    Agency Affected: United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: ACDA completed a detailed review of analytical needs and made organizational and technical adjustments.

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