Report recommends INS restraint

The Immigration and Naturalization Service has been trying to put its house in order in the months since the General Accounting Office criticized INS' ability to manage its information technology systems and programs.

But until a system architecture and management process is in place to ensure proper control of IT spending, GAO suggests that INS limit future requests for IT funds.

That recommendation is included in GAO's Jan. 17 Performance and Accountability Series report on the Justice Department's major challenges for the coming years.

The report calls for INS to limit IT spending requests to:

Programs that support existing operations and systems. Programs that are small, represent low risk and can be delivered in a short time. Programs that are congressionally mandated. Programs that support efforts to build an enterprise architecture and IT investment management processes. In August, GAO reported that INS invests hundreds of millions of dollars every year on IT but is unable to control or justify cost increases or even ensure that projects meet performance requirements when completed.

GAO attributed the chronic inefficiencies to lack of an enterprise architecture to manage IT programs and even the managerial processes needed to develop one.

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