IT Modernization

GAO rounds up mission-critical IT projects

workflow (Hurca/ 

The Government Accountability Office outlined how top mission-critical IT modernization projects at federal agencies are playing out.

In a new report on Sept. 8, GAO compiled a list of mission critical IT projects that include well-known efforts such as the Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) Electronic Health Record Modernization (EHRM), the Social Security Administration's (SSA) Disability Case Processing System, the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Student and Exchange Visitor Information System Modernization and the Department of Justice's (DOJ) Next Generation Identification System Terrorist Screening System.

It also included some less-publicized IT efforts such as the Department of the Interior's Automated Fluid Minerals Support System II.

Each of the 16 profiles provides timelines, cost estimates, scope of the system, number of users, lifecycle costs, workforce numbers and development methods. They also include lists of agency-identified and GAO-identified challenges, as well as past GAO reports and risk assessments.

The report stemmed from Congressional interest in how high-risk IT projects are faring, as well as how Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act reforms are moving ahead.

Congressional requestors included Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D, N.Y.), chairwoman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform; Rep. Gerald Connolly, chairman of the Subcommittee on Government Operations of the House Oversight and Reform Committee; Subcommittee Ranking Member Rep. Jody Hice (R-Ga.), as well as Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas).

The current report, said GAO, is an effort to "identify essential mission- IT acquisitions across the federal government and determine their key attributes."

The GAO provides the details of each agency mission critical acquisition in similar terms and categories, allowing more direct comparisons of the efforts.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


  • Cybersecurity
    Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas  (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Lora Ratliff)

    Mayorkas announces cyber 'sprints' on ransomware, ICS, workforce

    The Homeland Security secretary announced a series of focused efforts to address issues around ransomware, critical infrastructure and the agency's workforce that will all be launched in the coming weeks.

  • IT Modernization
    Blue Signage and logo of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

    VA plans 'strategic review' of $16B software program

    New Veterans Affairs chief Denis McDonough announced a "strategic review" of the agency's Electronic Health Record Modernization program of up to 12 weeks.

Stay Connected