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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

OMB approves 26 large IT projects for further funding - FederalTimes.com

Federal chief information officer Vivek Kundra announced today that 26 IT projects that have been halted for review will be considered as "high risk" and require more robust management plans and additional review before moving forward.

The projects span 15 federal agencies and exceed $30 billion in lifecycle costs, Kundra said in a call with reporters.

One of the projects listed by OMB as high risk is a $7.6 billion effort to overhaul the IT infrastructure at the Interior Department, the most costly of the projects. Already, $500 million has been spent on the project alone this fiscal year.

At the Justice Department, $557 million will go toward its Sentinel case-management system. Two of the project's four phases have been completed, but not without cost and scheduling delays, said Vance Hitch, the Justice Department's CIO.

In addition, the Office of Personnel Management's project to automate its paper-based retirement processing system was also deemed high risk.

Data from the Office of Management and Budget's IT Dashboard — a website that tracks the performance of federal information technology projects — was used to help determine the fate of the projects.

One of the projects halted in June was cancelled: an estimated $400 million financial management modernization project at the Veterans Affairs Department called Financial and Logistics Integrated Technology Enterprise.

-NICOLE BLAKE JOHNSON , FederalTimes.com

Monday, August 23, 2010

GAO Releases the 2010 Audit Standards Exposure Draft

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) today released the following report:

Government Auditing Standards: 2010 Exposure Draft.
GAO-10-853G, August 2010.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Gates announces major cuts at Defense

Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Monday said the department would cut funding for contractors, freeze hiring for all but critical jobs, eliminate three major organizations and propose cutting at least 150 senior executive service positions and 50 general and flag officer positions during the next two years as part of a wide-ranging effort to reduce duplication and overhead in military organizations.

Specifically, Gates has tasked the military services with finding $100 billion in overhead savings during the next five years. The services will be able to keep the savings they generate and reinvest the money in warfighting and modernization programs.

He said Monday he also has authorized each military department to consider consolidating or closing bases and facilities where they see fit.

In addition, Gates said the Pentagon would eliminate entire organizations, including the Business Transformation Agency. The agency, with a staff of 360 workers and an annual budget of $340 million, was created in 2006 to modernize the department's business practices but it had shifted its focus to daily oversight of individual acquisition programs. Its responsibilities now will be shifted to the deputy chief management officer.

-Katherine McIntire Peters, GovExec.com

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

New programs help federal workers weed out wasteful payouts

The Obama administration and Congress are trying to stop such waste and abuse, and federal employees are a key part of that effort. Although the subject of a hearing Tuesday by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee on federal financial management was "transforming government through innovative tools and technology," the role of workers was not overlooked.

Earl E. Devaney, chairman of the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, cited "the board's skilled analysts" who detect fraud using advanced technology, including computer software to search "colossal amounts of data."

The Recovery Board has become something of a poster child for doing things well in this area. Its job is to make sure the $787 billion in Recovery Act funding, much of it for infrastructure projects to stimulate the economy, isn't wasted.

"Working with inspectors general from 29 federal agencies, the Recovery Board has successfully provided both transparency and accountability for these funds," subcommittee Chairman Thomas R. Carper (D-Del.) said in his opening statement. "In fact, they've done such a good job, the president has told them to take their show on the road" by expanding their techniques to Medicare and Medicaid.
Instead of each agency collecting data from its Recovery Act recipients, the Recovery Board and the OMB created a centralized system, http://federalreporting.gov. Devaney said the board also built "a state-of-the-art command center" to keep track of Recovery Act loans, grants and contracts.

-Joe Davidson, WashingtonPost.com