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New GAO Testimony on Two Key Areas of Interest

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) this week released a new statement from their Director, Defense Capabilities and Management entitled “GAO-21-532T Defense Management: Opportunities Exist to…

New GAO Testimony on Two Key Areas of Interest

New GAO Testimony on Two Key Areas of Interest
Bill Kobren
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) this week released a new statement from their Director, Defense Capabilities and Management entitledGAO-21-532T Defense Management: Opportunities Exist to Improve DOD's Reform Efforts”. According to the GAO, “The Department of Defense's business operations are important functions that keep the department running, such as human resources and contracting. DOD's approach to transforming these business operations has been on our High Risk List since 2005. Inconsistent performance data, cost baselines, and inadequate documentation have made it hard to determine whether reform efforts are working. Over the years, DOD has taken steps to improve the data, but it needs to do more. DOD needs to clarify who does what, and give those offices the authority and resources they need to do the job. This testimony discusses reports on this topic from 2017-2020.

Additionally, they also released testimony entitledGAO-21-524T Information Technology: Agencies Need to Develop and Implement Modernization Plans for Critical Legacy Systems”, in which they indicated that “The U.S. government plans to spend over $100 billion this fiscal year on information technology. Most of that will be used to operate and maintain existing systems, including aging (also called "legacy") systems. These systems can be more costly to maintain and vulnerable to hackers…We analyzed 65 federal legacy systems and identified the 10 most critical at 10 agencies, including the Departments of Defense and the Treasury. The systems were 8 to 51 years old. Three agencies had no documented plans to modernize. Two had plans that included key practices for success…. Of the 10 agencies responsible for these legacy systems, GAO reported in June 2019 that seven agencies (the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, the Interior, the Treasury; as well as the Office of Personnel Management; Small Business Administration; and Social Security Administration) had documented plans for modernizing the systems (see table). Of the seven agencies with plans, only the Departments of the Interior's and Defense's modernization plans included all of the key elements identified in best practices (milestones, a description of the work necessary to complete the modernization, and a plan for the disposition of the legacy system) (emphasis added). The other five agencies lacked complete modernization plans”…and three others “did not have documented modernization plans.”