Information Technology Investment:

A Governmentwide Overview

AIMD-95-208: Published: Jul 31, 1995. Publicly Released: Jul 31, 1995.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on overall federal information technology (IT) obligations, focusing on programs to identify IT investments that are at risk and in need of corrective action.

GAO found that: (1) the total amount of federal IT spending is unknown, since the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) does not collect comprehensive IT budget data on a governmentwide basis; (2) federal agencies do not generally break out IT obligations as separate line items in their budget documents, but they include this information within program or administrative costs; (3) OMB reported that executive branch agencies plan to obligate about $26.5 billion in IT-related funds in fiscal year (FY) 1996; (4) OMB does not require the reporting of some potentially significant types of IT spending, resulting in billions of dollars in unreported spending; (5) IT-related obligations have increased by about $4 billion since FY 1991, despite the decline in defense obligations; (6) 11 federal agencies have IT-related problems serious enough to be categorized as high-risk; and (7) these IT-related problems warrant increased congressional oversight to ensure that top agency management takes corrective action.

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