DOD inspector finds spending info gaps

DOD IG report: Information Technology: Reporting of DoD Capital Investments for Information Technology

The Defense Department's reporting of its information technology capital investments is incomplete, sometimes inaccurate, and doesn't provide enough useful information for the Office of Management and Budget and the Congress to determine how much money the department should get for IT expenses each year, according to a report from the Defense inspector general.

The audit was conducted to verify and validate whether the services and DOD components are adequately reporting IT investments to Congress and OMB. Defense officials came under withering criticism of the department's IT bookkeeping during the fiscal 2003 budget negotiations in Congress.

At the time, several members of the House Armed Services Committee said Defense officials couldn't adequately show where the department's IT budget had gone. The proposed House bill cut the Defense IT budget by a significant amount, although the Senate voted to increase the military IT budget and the differences ultimately were ironed out in the conference committee.

To rectify that situation, then-Defense chief information officer John Stenbit proposed a new way of reporting the department's IT dollars. The new proposal called for warfighting and business IT to be reported separately to give lawmakers a more transparent view of how DOD officials spent their money.

The latest IG report, however, indicates shortcomings still abound.

"DOD components did not adequately report information technology investments to congress and OMB in support of the president's budget for" fiscal 2004, the report said. "This condition occurred because component chief information officers and chief financial officers did not always include required information in submitted reports."

Specifically, 170 of 198 Capital Investment Reports submitted to OMB and 182 of 197 Capital Investment Reports submitted to Congress did not completely respond to one or more required data elements addressing:

Project management.

Business case justifications.

Realistic cost and schedule goals.

Measurable performance benefits.

"As a result, the quality of DOD information reported

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