Year Ahead

What to expect from GAO this year

GAO Dave Powner

The Government Accountability Office plans to focus heavily on four categories of work in federal IT and its $82 billion budget in 2014, according to Dave Powner, GAO’s director of IT management issues. All work done by GAO is requested by Congress.

Transparency: GAO will have a report out on the IT Dashboard that will "look at the accuracy of what is going on, and also comment on how Dashboard data is being used by agencies and whether they’re moving toward lowering risk." In a separate report, GAO will examine USASpending, the government’s contracting awards database.

CIO authority: "We'll be doing a lot of follow-up work on CIO authority and governance," Powner said, adding that GAO will study the TechStat initiative’s effectiveness.

Major IT acquisitions: In the wake of the headline-grabbing HealthCare.gov rollout, Powner said GAO will review the government’s largest IT acquisitions, including elements of the website, the departments of Veterans Affairs’ and Defense’s Electronic Health Record system, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s satellite programs. "We’re looking at governance on all these acquisitions and government-wide work on incremental development," Powner said. "We're looking at whether the government is developing 6-12 month systems and not big-bang approaches. The whole push is for smaller, more successful acquisitions.”

Powner said GAO will dive deep into the “real cost of the [HealthCare.gov] rollout from an IT perspective” as well.

Legacy system/cost savings: "GAO will look at five large bodies of work: PortfolioStat follow-up, data center consolidation savings and efficiency, software licensing, cloud computing, and what is happening with reported cost savings," Powner said. GAO will focus on locating additional opportunities for cost savings or reduction, as well as "looking at how money that is saved is reinvested," Powner said, noting that several members of Congress are very interested to learn where saved money goes.

About the Author

Frank Konkel is a former staff writer for FCW.

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