Wasting Information Technology Dollars: How Can the Federal Government Reform its IT Investment Strategy?

Witness and Testimony Documents
The Honorable
Former Member of Congress, and Chairman of the Government Reform Committee
Federal CIO, Office of Management and Budget
Director, Information Technology Management Issues, GAO
Vice President, Chief Cloud Executive, VMware, Inc.
Advisor and Former CEO, Brocade Communications Systems, Inc.
Director, Office of Civic Innovation, Microsoft Corporation
January 22, 2013,
Hearing will be streamed live above.

January 22, 2013

Information technology is at the heart of every federal agency or program’s ability to function successfully. In just the last ten years, government spending on IT has risen from $46 billion in 2001 to approximately $81 billion in 2012.As is the case government wide, spending decisions are often not based on performance results.

Program failures and cost overruns plague three-quarters of large federal IT programs. Federal managers say that 47 percent of their budget goes to maintain obsolete and deficient IT resources. Estimates suggest that as much as $20 billion of taxpayer money is wasted each year.

We’ve built an IT infrastructure that is bloated, inefficient, and actually makes it more difficult for the government to serve its citizens. With more than $81 billion spent each year on federal information technology, are the American people getting what they paid for?

Just last month, the Air Force announced that a one billion dollar logistics system had failed and was being shutdown with nothing to show for it. This is not an isolated incident. The Agriculture Department has already spent $94 million in four years to develop supply-chain management systems for food distribution but have no results to point to.

We have a choice to make, adapt to the changing times, or waste more taxpayer dollars on obsolete and duplicative systems that don’t work. It is time to bring the IT revolution to the federal government. Today’s hearing will examine the many problems with IT procurement and begin the discussion of what we can do about them.