Defense

DOD expands use of IT Dashboard

IT Dashboard DOD Summary

The Defense Department has expanded the number of projects it details in the federal IT Dashboard.

In its fiscal 2015 submission to the federal IT Dashboard, the Defense Department has reported more than $2.5 billion in ongoing IT projects that were not listed last year. That raises the number of DOD IT projects from 93 to 118.

Those are not new projects, but rather an update that reflects the increasing pressure to get DOD to comply with the Office of Management and Budget's IT reporting requirements. Lawmakers hope that uniform reporting will give them a more accurate picture of the federal government's biggest single bucket of IT spending. DOD had more than $31 billion worth of non-classified IT projects in fiscal 2014.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) has been among the most vocal critics of DOD's IT reporting. "I remain concerned by the [Government Accountability Office] reports indicating that a number of the Pentagon’s IT acquisition programs have not been correctly categorized on the government's website," Ayotte said at a February hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee's Readiness and Management Support Subcommittee.

At that same hearing, DOD CIO Teri Takai said, "I would not necessarily depict our current ratings that are out on the dashboard as being 100 percent correct."

Takai issued a memo on March 25 to the department's CIOs outlining reporting requirements for the IT Dashboard and instructing them to measure risk on the one-to-five scale OMB uses in its TechStat process. Although FCW was not able to see the internal memo, a DOD official said it was coordinated with the undersecretary for acquisition, technology and logistics and addresses some of the issues raised by critics on Capitol Hill. The memo is apparently designed to align DOD's homegrown acquisition guidance known as the 5000 process into OMB's governmentwide system.

"You certainly do not want to hear, 'Well, we are DOD and so our ratings are a little different,' which I am sure you hear a lot from us on other things," Takai said at the hearing.

Some of the larger DOD projects to be added to the IT Dashboard include:

Despite the changes in DOD's IT reporting, projects' risk ratings have remained stable. In previous IT Dashboard reports, none of DOD's projects were listed in the red-flag category for having a risk score of one or two. That has not changed in the current iteration of the IT Dashboard: Of the 118 investments listed, 112 were listed with a "green" score of four or five, and 12 were listed as medium risk or "yellow" with a score of three.

Dave Powner, director of IT management issues at GAO, has been skeptical that those ratings are accurate. "There are a lot of complex projects there," he said. "It is not that they are doing a bad job that they are red. I mean, there are red projects across programs. There are red projects in the private sector. But you cannot fix the problems unless you acknowledge you have a problem."

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy, health IT and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mr. Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian started his career as an arts reporter and critic, and has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, Architect magazine, and other publications. He was an editorial assistant and staff writer at the now-defunct New York Press and arts editor at the About.com online network in the 1990s, and was a weekly contributor of music and film reviews to the Washington Times from 2007 to 2014.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.


FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.

Featured

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1986, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

  • Shutterstock image.

    A 'minibus' appropriations package could be in the cards

    A short-term funding bill is expected by Sept. 30 to keep the federal government operating through early December, but after that the options get more complicated.

  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco

    DOD launches new tech hub in Austin

    The DOD is opening a new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental office in Austin, Texas, while Congress debates legislation that could defund DIUx.

  • Shutterstock image.

    Merged IT modernization bill punts on funding

    A House panel approved a new IT modernization bill that appears poised to pass, but key funding questions are left for appropriators.

  • General Frost

    Army wants cyber capability everywhere

    The Army's cyber director said cyber, electronic warfare and information operations must be integrated into warfighters' doctrine and training.

  • Rising Star 2013

    Meet the 2016 Rising Stars

    FCW honors 30 early-career leaders in federal IT.

Reader comments

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