Government Accountability Office, Information Technology: Agencies Need to Strengthen Oversight of Billions of Dollars in Operations and Maintenance Investments (GAO-13-87) (Oct. 16, 2012) (full-text).
Of the $79 billion federal agencies budgeted for IT in 2011, $54 billion (about 69 percent) was reported to have been spent on the operations and maintenance of existing legacy IT systems — commonly referred to as steady state investments. Given the size and magnitude of these investments, it is essential that agencies effectively manage them to ensure they continue to meet agency needs. As such, OMB directs agencies to periodically examine the performance of such investments against, among other things, established cost, schedule, and performance goals by performing annual OAs.
The GAO was asked to determine the extent to which federal agencies analyze the performance of steady state investments in accordance with OMB guidance. To do so, the GAO (1) selected five agencies, DOD, HHS, DHS, Treasury, and VA, which reported spending $4.6 billion annually on major steady state investments; and (2) and compared their fiscal year 2011 OAs to OMB criteria.
The GAO recommended that DOD, Treasury, and VA develop an OA policy and conduct annual OAs; and that DHS and HHS ensure OAs are being performed for all investments and that all factors are fully assessed. The GAO also recommended that OMB revise its guidance to incorporate mechanisms to ensure OAs are completed and provide for increased transparency.