The Federal Information Processing Standards Program:

Many Potential Benefits, Little Progress, and Many Problems

FGMSD-78-23: Published: Apr 19, 1978. Publicly Released: Apr 19, 1978.

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The Brooks Act called for a Federal automatic data processing (ADP) standards program that would permit the interchange of computer equipment, software, and data. It was also intended to stimulate competition by permitting Federal agencies to procure their ADP requirements from numerous vendors offering low-cost compatible products.

Some standards have been developed, but agencies are not fully using them; and some standards do not yet exist. As a result, many Federal agencies have become locked into suppliers of computers and related services. Government has depended too much on the commercial sector to develop standards, and manufacturers sometimes delay the development of commercial standards. The Department of Commerce's budget requests do not provide meaningful information on the scope and direction of the program. Standards development has suffered from a lack of funds allocated for this purpose, inadequate resource management, and the lack of an effective staff devoted to the program. Weaknesses in the program also result from vague enforcement policies and the lack of procedures to verify compliance.

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