IT not tied to budgets

The Defense Department still fails to include in its plans for new information technology projects an accompanying budget to pay for the new systems DOD comptroller John Hamre said last month.

In a speech to the Washington chapter of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association Hamre said DOD was "light years ahead" of other federal agencies in adopting the policies set out by the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996 which reformed procurement laws and required agencies to weigh the benefits and costs of IT projects among other things. But Hamre added that DOD still does not pay attention to IT budgets. "There's a disconnect between the [Major Automated Information Systems Review Council]...and the budget " he said. "Folks come in with new systems but they don't budget for them."

The problem is compounded by how the services and agencies account for budgets in reports prepared for top management and Congress known as Section 43 exhibits. Hamre said he was "frustrated by the 43 exhibits.... We have no idea where we are spending billions on existing systems."

Bob Dornan senior vice president of Federal Sources Inc. partly agreed with Hamre on IT budgeting saying "For years there was not much connection between the 43s and reality."

But Dornan added that congressional oversight committees "have started taking those exhibits seriously and have started to make agencies live with them."

In his speech Hamre also said the Pentagon will experience another budget shortfall in fiscal 1997. The budget does not include enough to support the U.S. effort in Bosnia and Hamre predicted DOD will have to go to Congress for "a supplemental [Bosnia budget] to get us through 1997.

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