GAO guides Coast Guard on IT

The Coast Guard needs to work harder to execute the policies and procedures

it sets for managing its information technology acquisitions and programs,

according to a Dec. 12 report by the General Accounting Office.

The GAO report, "Information Technology Management: Coast Guard Practices

Can Be Improved," provides formal recommendations to Transportation Secretary

Rodney Slater on how to improve IT management at the Coast Guard based on

a briefing given to a House subcommittee in September.

Recommendations include:

* Develop written procedures to guide IT Investment Board operations.

* Establish an IT oversight process that compares actual cost and schedule

data with original estimates for all projects to determine whether investments

are proceeding as expected and to take corrective actions as appropriate.

* Develop and oversee a comprehensive IT investment portfolio.

* Initiate software acquisition process improvement efforts to address

weaknesses in requirements development and management and acquisition risk

management.

* Implement a complete, effective security awareness program.

* Develop and implement a centralized mechanism to monitor and enforce

compliance with physical security and information systems security policies.

* Assess the IT civilian workforce to identify knowledge and skill requirements

and gaps.

The Coast Guard spent about $197 million on 81 IT initiatives in fiscal

2000, according to the GAO report. Four are major IT acquisitions that are

being tracked by the Coast Guard: the National Distress and Response System

modernization, the Ports and Waterways Safety System, Marine Information

for Safety and Law Enforcement system, and the Fleet Logistics System.

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