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Highlights

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the: (1) progress made by the Department of State in implementing key information technology (IT) management oversight and investment planning requirements mandated in recent federal legislation and related Office of Management and Budget (OMB) guidance; and (2) soundness of the 5-year cost estimate included in the Department's information resource management (IRM) strategic plan and whether this estimate incorporates potential cost savings and efficiencies from State's modernization efforts.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of State 1. The Secretary of State should make the development of a fully implemented IT planning and investment process a top priority. The Secretary's implementation strategy should include establishing a fully functioning IRM Technical Review Board and IRM Configuration Control Board.
Closed - Implemented
State has strengthened its IRM Program Board and is reactivating the Technical Review Board that meets regularly to help manage its Capital Investment Fund. It has also converted one of its project-specific configuration control boards into a department-wide board that addresses all projects. Meetings include representatives from all bureaus and offices.
Department of State 2. The Secretary of State should make the development of a fully implemented IT planning and investment process a top priority. The Secretary's implementation strategy should include establishing a validated information technology architecture to help guide the Department's IRM modernization and ongoing IT support decisions.
Closed - Implemented
State has a high-level architecture in place and is now involved in the ongoing process of adding additional detail to this architecture.
Department of State 3. The Secretary of State should make the development of a fully implemented IT planning and investment process a top priority. The Secretary's implementation strategy should include revising (once the boards and architecture are in place) the strategic and tactical plans and 5-year cost estimate and identifying potential cost savings or efficiencies expected from the modernization effort.
Closed - Implemented
State drafted a new Strategic Plan that is under department-wide review and is preparing cost estimates that will be added to the plan. State is also updating the Tactical Plan every 6 months. Department officials believe cost avoidance opportunities will be more likely than cost savings.
Department of State 4. The Secretary of State should make the development of a fully implemented IT planning and investment process a top priority. The Secretary's implementation strategy should include establishing specific milestones for completing the full implementation of the IT planning and investment process, and a mechanism to measure progress against these milestones.
Closed - Implemented
State agreed with this recommendation and is including output and outcome performance measures and milestones for measuring progress in the new Strategic Plan and in subsequently revised IRM technical plans.

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