Cooperative Actions Result in More Economical Computer Acquisition and Improved Security at the New Orleans Computer Center

LCD-77-118: Published: Dec 23, 1977. Publicly Released: Dec 23, 1977.

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The Department of Agriculture was remiss in not following prescribed procedures for acquiring a computer system which was needed at its New Orleans Computer Center. However, the agency's cooperation with GAO has enabled the acquisition to proceed with resultant savings to the government of about $7.5 million. The cooperation also helped to establish a new software conversion method which may achieve additional savings.

The large volume of personnel records and the $2 billion of financial transactions that flow through the New Orleans Computer Center and the National Finance Center annually were found to be vulnerable to manipulation, making strengthening of security at the centers the paramount consideration. Exposure of these records could result in violations of the Privacy Act of 1974 and financial losses to the government.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Agriculture should: agree with the General Services Administration to purchase the new computer system through the Automatic Data Processing Revolving Fund; document the new computer system acquisition to facilitate monitoring and evaluating the proposed method for handling software conversion; report to the Chairman of the House Committee on Government Operations, the Administrator of General Services, and GAO on experience in using the proposed method of effecting program conversion and the results achieved; and reevaluate the security program of the New Orleans Computer Center and the National Finance Center to assure that all needed safeguards are implemented before the new computer system becomes fully operational.

    Agency Affected:


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