IG: Energy contractors mismanaging IT acquisitions

Facility Contractor Acquisition and Management of Information Technology Hardware (.pdf)

The Energy Department’s Office of Inspector General has criticized contractor-managed acquisitions, saying contractors failed to oversee sensitive computer hardware at national laboratories and offices.

The IG blamed inconsistent asset management policies in a report released June 26.

DOE reported to Congress in late May that it lost nearly 1,400 laptop computers over the past six years. The IG warned that without a plan to solve problems with how contractors handle equipment at national labs and offices, more equipment could be lost.

“The failure to maintain accountability over computers and other sensitive assets could also increase the risk of misuse, theft or other diversion” of DOE equipment, Friedman stated in a memo attached to the report.

The report stated that not all national sites had consistent policies for tracking computers until disposing of them. The office also found that some labs did not properly wipe sensitive data from computer storage devices before disposing of them.

The IG also said the department “had not developed a coordinated approach to [information technology] hardware acquisition, management and control,” and did not require contractors to adhere to procurement standards developed at local sites and laboratories. This resulted in widely varying costs for equipment. The IG noted that two sites procured the same portable device in a six-month period for prices ranging from $100 to $460.

Procurement contractors should begin using cost-saving acquisition strategies such as volume purchases and consolidated buying, the report stated.

Although managers agreed with the IG’s assessment, the National Nuclear Security Administration did not. In comments about the report, Michael Kane, NNSA’s associate administrator for management and administration, said the agency already has adopted minimum hardware standards.

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