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Friday, July 29, 2011

White House Launches Government Accountability and Transparency Board to Cut Waste and Boost Accountability

WASHINGTON, D.C. --- Today, the Obama Administration is announcing the launch of the Government Accountability and Transparency Board. The Board, first announced by the President and Vice President in June as part of the Campaign to Cut Waste, will focus on rooting out misspent tax dollars and making government spending more accessible and transparent for the American people. Today, the President named several of the nation’s top watchdogs and leaders on government accountability to the board, which will be led by interim chairman Earl Devaney. The Board is holding their first meeting this morning to begin developing plans to enhance transparency in federal spending and root out and stop waste, fraud, and abuse in federal programs.

Today, the President announced the appointment of the following federal officials to the Board:

• Earl E. Devaney – Chairman, Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board
• Ashton B. Carter – Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology & Logistics, Department of Defense
• W. Scott Gould – Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Department of Veterans Affairs
• Allison C. Lerner – Inspector General, National Science Foundation
• Daniel R. Levinson – Inspector General, Department of Health and Human Services
• Ellen Murray – Assistant Secretary for Financial Resources and Chief Financial Officer, Department of Health and Human Services
• Calvin L. Scovel III – Inspector General, Department of Transportation
• Kathleen S. Tighe – Inspector General, Department of Education
• Daniel I. Werfel – Controller, Office of Management and Budget
• David C. Williams – Inspector General, United States Postal Service
• Neal S. Wolin – Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, Department of the Treasury

The Board will recommend a broad range of strategies to make spending data more reliable and accessible to the American people. They will also make recommendations to broaden the Administration’s use of cutting edge technology to crack down on fraud, and focus on integrating data systems and using data for better decision-making. In doing so, the Board will offer a comprehensive vision for the management of federal spending that will fundamentally change how government works. And it will ensure that this vision is executed in the most cost-effective, efficient and logical manner.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Today's GAO Publications

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) today released the following reports, correspondence and testimonies:

Information Technology: DHS Needs to Improve Its Independent Acquisition Reviews.
GAO-11-581, July 28.

Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11581high.pdf

American Battle Monuments Commission: Improvements Needed in Internal Controls and Accounting Procedures-Fiscal Year 2010.
GAO-11-577R, July 28.


Improper Payments: Reported Medicare Estimates and Key Remediation Strategies, by Kay L. Daly, director, financial management and assurance, and Kathleen M. King, director, health care, before the Subcommittee on Government Organization, Efficiency, and Financial Management, House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
GAO-11-842T, July 28.
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11842thigh.pdf

DOD Financial Management: Numerous Challenges Must Be Addressed to Achieve Auditability, by Asif A. Khan, director, financial management and assurance, before the Panel on DOD Financial Management, House Committee on Armed Services.
GAO-11-864T, July 28.
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11864thigh.pdf

DoD ERP implementation woes include feeder systems

Worries about the Defense Department's implementation of enterprise resource planning systems increasingly encompasses data quality from feeder systems.
The Army has hired an independent auditor to examine its financial management ERP, the General Fund Enterprise Business System, for whether "we are using it in a way to include the feeder systems that's auditable," said Robert Hale, the DoD comptroller, during a July 27 Senate hearing.

Hale said plans exist to do a similar check with the Navy "in the context of a major defense acquisition program" and later with the Air Force ERP, the Defense Enterprise Accounting and Management System.

Jamie Morin, the Air Force comptroller, told the committee that DEAMS detects bad data from feeder systems more readily than legacy systems. DEAMS "told us thousands of transactions were not meeting standards, which instantly brought the level of management attention to fix the problem," he said.

Meanwhile, when parts deemed worth saving from the to-be-shuttered Business Transformation Agency are moved into the office of the Defense Department deputy chief management officer, the modernized financial system the BTA has been using will go on hiatus for a while, DCMO Elizabeth McGrath said.

The financial system, the Defense Agencies Initiative, would be an anomaly among secretary of defense offices were the DCMO to start utilizing it immediately, McGrath said before the subcommittee.

But the plan is not to shutter DAI, McGrath said. "We're moving to DAI. We're not doing it today, because I'm a component of the overall OSD budget," she added.

-David Perera, FierceGovernmentIT.com

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Today's GAO Publications

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

Disability Insurance: SSA Can Improve Efforts to Detect, Prevent, and Recover Overpayments.
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11724high.pdf

DOD Financial Management: Numerous Challenges Must Be Addressed to Improve Reliability of Financial Information, by Asif A. Khan, director, financial management and assurance, before the Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support, Senate Committee on Armed Services.
GAO-11-835T, July 27.
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11835thigh.pdf

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Senator Carper, others introduce bill to supplement Improper Payments Law

Dover — Senators introduced a bill to bolster the Anti-Wasteful Spending Law, building on the landmark Improper Payments Law signed one year ago.

Sen. Tom Carper, chairman of the subcommittee on federal financial management, introduced legislation that builds on IPERA's initiatives and takes additional steps to identify, prevent and recover improper payments by federal agencies. Senators Joe Lieberman, Susan Collins and Scott Brown join senator Carper as cosponsors.

The Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Improvement Act of 2011 goes beyond IPERA's goals for curbing agencies' improper payments with three main concepts, including provisions that: expand requirements and strengthen estimates for agencies' improper payments; mandate the establishment of a government-wide "Do Not Pay List;" and require Recovery Audit Contractor(RAC) pilot programs across federal agencies. According to an Office of Management and Budget estimate, federal agencies made nearly $125 billion in improper payments in 2010.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Federal Executive CFO and CAO Roundtable Luncheon

The executives at Fedscoop are putting together a Federal Executive CFO and CAO Roundtable Luncheon Tuesday August 2, 2011 at Bibiana Restaurant, (at the corner of 12th St NW and H St NW) from 12:00pm to 2:00pm. Due to space restrictions- the event is open to current government employees only.

Register Here...

This casual gathering will provide agency finance and operations leaders an opportunity to discuss different ways of leveraging technology and technology procurements to lower the cost of agency operations. This luncheon will bring together colleagues and peers to share real life examples, best practices, and proven methods for reducing costs while creating momentum around strategic, but unfunded, IT mandates that aim to enhance operational efficiencies.

FedScoop events bring leaders from the White House, Federal Agencies, Academia, and the High Tech Industry together to discuss top issues facing the Government IT Community. For a full list of past FedScoop speakers, please go to:

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Sen. Tom Carper: An IT champion by necessity

Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) wants the federal government to achieve better results for less money, and he believes IT is one way to reach that goal.

That belief has led Carper, Delaware’s senior senator, to spend the past few years championing IT-related issues on Capitol Hill, including cybersecurity and IT management reform.

IT might not be the juiciest area to oversee, but it speaks to Carper’s main objective: improving government performance and efficiency.

In April, Carper introduced legislation that would put elements of the administration’s IT management reform plan into law.

The bill would require agency CIOs and the Office of Management and Budget to conduct systematic reviews of IT projects that are experiencing performance problems. It would also codify the federal IT Dashboard and increase congressional oversight of IT.

Carper proposed the bill — called the Information Technology Investment Management Act of 2011 (S. 801) — in response to a series of hearings he has held in the past three years to examine federal agencies’ management of costly high-risk IT projects.

Carper, chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee’s Federal Financial Management, Government Information, Federal Services and International Security Subcommittee, introduced the new bill the same day his subcommittee held a hearing on the progress of IT reform. Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) and fellow IT champions Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) co-sponsored the bill.

Carper said he proposed the legislation to make sure programs in place now will continue beyond the tenure of Kundra (who announced his resignation in June) and the current administration.

Carper said the bill includes baseline cost, schedule and performance overruns that would trigger reviews by agency CIOs or the federal CIO. The metrics would give executive branch officials insight into whether they should take dramatic action and perhaps pull the plug on a failing project, he added.

-Alyah Khan, FCW.com

Today's GAO Publications

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

Defense Acquisitions: DOD Can Improve Its Management of Configuration Steering Boards.
GAO-11-640, July 7.
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11640high.pdf

Air Force Working Capital Fund: Budgeting and Management of Carryover Work and Funding Could Be Improved.
GAO-11-539, July 7.
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11539high.pdf

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Auditors say Army financial ERP program at high risk

An Army enterprise resource planning system--which, if fully implemented, would be one of the world's largest public sector ERPs--is at high risk of running even more over schedule and budget and resulting in a system that falls short of objectives, says the Defense Department inspector general.

In a report dated June 15, the DoD OIG finds that the financial management system known as the General Fund Enterprise Business System continues to lack a detailed data conversion plan and supported cost estimates.

DoD auditors first publically noted both problems in 2008, but the Army and Defense Department have not implemented seven of the 16 recommendations they made at the time, the report says.

-David Perera, FierceGovernmentIT.com

US Senators Push Agencies To Speed Up Sale Of Excess Property

WASHINGTON -(Dow Jones)- Two senators are urging federal agencies to speed up the sale of unneeded buildings that cost taxpayers billions to operate annually, as part of an effort to curb waste within the federal government.

Sen. Tom Carper (D., Del.), chairman of homeland security and governmental affairs subcommittee on federal financial management, and Sen. Rob Portman (R., Ohio), a former White House budget director, this week asked eight agencies for updates on how each one is proceeding with its disposal of underused or unneeded real property.

The letters, which were sent Tuesday but not released until Wednesday, come amid an ongoing push by the Obama administration to save $3 billion by the end of the fiscal year through the sale of such property. Fiscal 2012 ends in September of next year.

-Andrew Ackerman, Dow Jones Newswires