Information Technology: Management and Oversight of Projects Totaling Billions of Dollars Need Attention

GAO-09-624T Published: Apr 28, 2009. Publicly Released: Apr 28, 2009.
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Billions of taxpayer dollars are spent on federal information technology (IT) projects each year; for fiscal year 2009, federal IT spending has risen to an estimated $71 billion. Given the size of these investments and their significance to the health, economy, and security of the nation, it is important that that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and federal agencies are providing adequate oversight and ensuring transparency of these programs. Appropriate oversight and transparency will help ensure that programs are delivered on time, within budget, and with the promised capabilities. During the past several years, GAO has issued numerous reports and testimonies on OMB's initiatives to highlight troubled projects, justify IT investments, and use project management tools. For example, OMB has used a Management Watch List to identify major projects that were poorly planned and has required agencies to identify high-risk projects that have performance shortfalls. GAO made many recommendations to improve these initiatives and further enhance oversight and transparency of IT projects. GAO was asked to testify on key OMB efforts to improve the oversight and transparency of federal IT projects. In preparing this testimony, GAO relied on its prior reports and testimonies. GAO also followed up with OMB to determine the status of its efforts to implement past recommendations.

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