FPS at crossroads with RAMP contract, IG says

The Federal Protective Service has partially resolved some of the problems related to a contract to develop a risk management system for the agency, but it has an important decision to make to protect its data, according to a new report from the Homeland Security Department Office of Inspector General.

The Risk Assessment and Management Program (RAMP) is at a crossroads and the agency needs to fully assess its options, the inspector general recommended in the April 5 report.

In August 2008, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement and the protective service funded a $21 million, seven-year contract to develop and maintain RAMP. The program was intended to create a next-generation tool to analyze and manage risks, inspections, contracts and certifications, among other data..

In July 2011, the Government Accountability Office reported that RAMP was over budget, behind schedule and could not be used as intended. Consequently, the protective service ceased development of RAMP. However, a follow-on contract was awarded to continue operation and maintenance with a total projected cost of $25 million, the report said.

But those actions have not resolved all the problems, the inspector general wrote in the new report.

“Federal Protective Service minimized some costs of RAMP by stopping development and paying the contractor only to operate and maintain the program. As a result, FPS will save the government at least $13.2 million,” the inspector general said.

“However, FPS has not determined how it will maintain data in RAMP or transfer critical data out of RAMP after June 2012, the IG continued. “FPS risks incurring additional expenditures, including paying for the transfer of useless data, as well as losing critical data, if it does not act soon.”

The two options on the table are to either transfer operations and maintenance of RAMP to another company or to decommission RAMP in a way that preserves its critical data, the inspector general wrote.

“With six months left on the current contract, FPS may not have enough time to analyze this large volume of data and either transfer them to another contractor or have them decommissioned,” the report said. The service had not yet analyzed costs or benefits of either option, the IG added.

Nonetheless, the inspector general recommended that the protective service complete all the analyses before choosing an option.

The agency agreed with the report.



About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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