Senate panel slams canceled Air Force IT program

capitol dome

About a year and half after the Air Force canceled its Expeditionary Combat Support System, a Senate panel has released a scathing report on the failed IT program.

The ECSS, a software system for enterprise management, was a waste of $1.1 billion and the eight years spent on the project, the report concluded. The Air Force’s handling of the program revealed a “cultural resistance to change” within the service, the report said.

Arizona Republican John McCain, ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, lambasted the ECSS as "the most egregious example of mismanagement at the Department of Defense in recent memory."

“Moving forward, we must apply the lessons learned from this debacle so that the Department of Defense’s current and future efforts to modernize those large business information technology systems that are vital to its strategy to becoming auditable and improving how it does business do not face the same disastrous fate as ECSS,” McCain added.

With the ECSS debacle in mind, the Senate Armed Services Committee adopted an amendment to the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill that would require DOD to understand its existing systems before procuring a big new business system, according to the subcommittee statement.

About the Author

Sean Lyngaas is an FCW staff writer covering defense, cybersecurity and intelligence issues. Prior to joining FCW, he was a reporter and editor at Smart Grid Today, where he covered everything from cyber vulnerabilities in the U.S. electric grid to the national energy policies of Britain and Mexico. His reporting on a range of global issues has appeared in publications such as The Atlantic, The Economist, The Washington Diplomat and The Washington Post.

Lyngaas is an active member of the National Press Club, where he served as chairman of the Young Members Committee. He earned his M.A. in international affairs from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and his B.A. in public policy from Duke University.

Click here for previous articles by Lyngaas, or connect with him on Twitter: @snlyngaas.


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