Homeland Security:

OMB's Temporary Cessation of Information Technology Funding for New Investments

GAO-03-186T: Published: Oct 1, 2002. Publicly Released: Oct 1, 2002.

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Joel C. Willemssen
(202) 512-6253


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

This testimony discusses the temporary cessation of funding for new information technology (IT) infrastructure and business system investments related to the proposed Department of Homeland Security. Integrating the diverse communication and information systems of the myriad of organizations that would be part of the proposed Department of Homeland Security would be an enormous undertaking. Among the near-term challenges that would have to be addressed to successfully tackle this task is developing an enterprise architecture. Managed properly, enterprise architectures can clarify and help optimize the interdependencies and interrelationships among related enterprise operations and the underlying IT infrastructure and applications that support them. Another long-term challenge is establishing and enforcing a disciplined IT investment management process. Well managed IT investments that are carefully selected and focused on meeting mission needs can propel an organization forward, dramatically improving performance while reducing costs. To help tackle these challenges, in July the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued two memoranda to selected agencies telling them to "cease temporarily" and report on new IT infrastructure an business systems investments above $500,000, which are to be reviewed by IT infrastructure and business system investments to OMB, which are currently being evaluated by OMB and the investment review groups. In addition, as of September 26, three agencies had submitted emergency requests for expedited review, which were subsequently approved. However, because the non-emergency agency submissions are still being evaluated, at this time it is too early to assess the effects of OMB's action.

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