by CIO Staff

GAO: Federal Agencies Must Keep Better Tabs on Risky IT Initiatives

Jul 21, 20062 mins
IT Strategy

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report this week that said federal agencies need to improve the methods in which they identify and manage IT initiatives with a high level of risk; however, Karen Evans of the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) e-government and IT administration disputed the findings, Computerworld reports.

GAO examined procedures that were created following an August 2005 directive in which OMB mandated that federal agencies establish policies for identifying and reporting on high-risk IT projects, according to Computerworld.

GAO identified a number of projects that seemed to qualify as high-risk based on OMB’s definition, but the initiatives were not categorized as risky, Computerworld reports.

The OMB was blasted by GAO for its failure to help agencies comply with the mandate, according to Computerworld. It said OMB’s lack of clarity in the original directive led to confusion. OMB also has not set a specific set of reporting procedures for agencies, and it has not gathered information on all current high-risk projects and put them into a central repository for easy access, the GAO said, according to Computerworld.

Evans said GAO’s recommendations were based on false assumptions, and even criticized it for contradicting itself in the report.

“The report incorrectly implies agencies will not be able to oversee their own projects without additional guidance on this narrowly focused process, when in fact the report itself suggests agencies are using this policy as an opportunity to improve their internal oversight,” Evans said, according to Computerworld.

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