Agencies struggle to defend IT spending

Report from President's Management Council

Most departments and agencies can justify a majority of their information technology investments, but the departments of Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs and the Army Corps of Engineers could defend less than half of their investments, according to a report released Oct. 13.

Seven departments and agencies justified more than 50 percent of their investments, and 15 validated all of their investments, according to the report, “Giving the American People More for Their Money.”

The report states that DHS has $4.16 billion for IT in the fiscal 2007 budget, the VA has $1.9 billion and the Army Corps of Engineers has $375 million.

The President’s Management Council issued the report, which focused on the 2006 results from the President’s Management Agenda.

Departments must support IT investments with sound justifications based on acceptable criteria such as risk management, security and project management. They also have cost, schedule and performance goals, which measure project performance, called earned value management. EVM compares a work’s planned value with what was accomplished.

Metrics and data for cost, schedule and performance variance were unavailable for DHS, the VA and the Army Corps of Engineers, the report states. Among the 25 departments and agencies reviewed, 10 varied less than 10 percent on EVM for IT investments and 12 varied less than 30 percent.

“It’s important to measure results so that we know we’re doing our job,” President Bush said Oct. 13 at a meeting with the council to discuss the management agenda. “It’s also important to measure results to determine whether or not the taxpayers’ money is being spent wisely.”

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