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In response to a congressional request, the GAO reviewed the Social Security Administration's (SSA) Systems Modernization Plan to determine whether SSA fully justified ongoing and planned computer hardware procurements totalling $343 million and whether the procurements will meet SSA requirements.
The GAO found that: (1) the ongoing and planned procurements for the plan were not justified because it was unclear what needs the procurements would address, what potential mission benefits would result from the acquisitions, and whether SSA had adequately analyzed alternatives; and (2) the tests SSA conducted to validate the software will not provide an overall and thorough measure of the system's projected performance. The GAO believes that SSA: (1) should limit the procurements to only the equipment needed to test the total planned hardware configuration in conjunction with the major software components currently under development; and (2) not procure the full complement of equipment unless and until it conducts an evaluation of the total system over a period long enough to obtain stable and complete results, and reviews those results prior to committing to procurements for full system deployment.