Mobile

IG report finds flaws in NASA's mobile device management

NASA is not doing a good job managing its mobile devices, according to a new report authored by NASA Inspector General Paul Martin.

The space agency's mismanagement of its 16,900 agency-issued tablets, smartphones, cell phones and AirCards came with a hefty price tag for taxpayers in 2013. About 2,300, or 14 percent of all agency-issued devices, went unused for seven months while costing taxpayers $679,000, according to the report.

The report attributes the waste to "weaknesses in NASA's mobile device management practices," primarily its lack of a "complete and accurate inventory of agency-issued mobile devices." The IG explains that the information system NASA uses to order mobile devices from its primary IT contractor, HP Enterprise Services, "Is not fully functional or integrated with the database the agency uses to track IT assets."

This is the second time in as many months that significant IT issues have surfaced between NASA and HP Enterprise Services.

In January, the NASA IG released a report outlining "significant problems" in its $2.5 billion Agency Consolidated End-User Services (ACES) contract with HP Enterprise Services, which is expected to provide NASA with desktops, laptops, mobile devices, computer equipment and end-user services. The report came midway through the contract's four-year base period, and NASA officials said it was still evaluating whether to exercise the contract's option. When reached by FCW, a NASA official said the agency had no further comment on whether it would exercise the option.

With regards to the poor mobile-device management, the IG puts the blame on both parties.

"Neither NASA nor HP has an accurate inventory of Agency-issued mobile devices. NASA officials admitted they had no authoritative database of these devices and were not confident that HP could accurately account for the full inventory of mobile devices it provides to the Agency," the new report states. "The lack of a complete inventory adversely affects NASA's ability to verify the accuracy and completeness of ACES invoices and leaves the Agency susceptible to paying erroneous or excessive charges."

In its latest report, the IG also found that NASA has significant information security risks to address. The agency improved the secure means by which its mobile devices connected to NASA email systems in 2013, but with locations around the country, NASA still has vulnerabilities across its multitude of networks, including the wireless local networks at its centers.

Not surprisingly, the IG recommended NASA improve its methods for tracking agency-issued mobile devices and that the agency implement a centralized mobile device management capability. NASA CIO Larry Sweet, in the process of trying to centralize his authority over NASA's IT spending, signed off on both recommendations.

About the Author

Frank Konkel is a former staff writer for FCW.

The Fed 100

Save the date for 28th annual Federal 100 Awards Gala.

Featured

  • computer network

    How Einstein changes the way government does business

    The Department of Commerce is revising its confidentiality agreement for statistical data survey respondents to reflect the fact that the Department of Homeland Security could see some of that data if it is captured by the Einstein system.

  • Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Army photo by Monica King. Jan. 26, 2017.

    Mattis mulls consolidation in IT, cyber

    In a Feb. 17 memo, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told senior leadership to establish teams to look for duplication across the armed services in business operations, including in IT and cybersecurity.

  • Image from Shutterstock.com

    DHS vague on rules for election aid, say states

    State election officials had more questions than answers after a Department of Homeland Security presentation on the designation of election systems as critical U.S. infrastructure.

  • Org Chart Stock Art - Shutterstock

    How the hiring freeze targets millennials

    The government desperately needs younger talent to replace an aging workforce, and experts say that a freeze on hiring doesn't help.

  • Shutterstock image: healthcare digital interface.

    VA moves ahead with homegrown scheduling IT

    The Department of Veterans Affairs will test an internally developed scheduling module at primary care sites nationwide to see if it's ready to service the entire agency.

  • Shutterstock images (honglouwawa & 0beron): Bitcoin image overlay replaced with a dollar sign on a hardware circuit.

    MGT Act poised for a comeback

    After missing in the last Congress, drafters of a bill to encourage cloud adoption are looking for a new plan.

Reader comments

Wed, Mar 5, 2014

Another Lynda Legacy

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group