Friendly Fire?

The National Defense Authorization Act for 2012 requires GAO to provide DoD with an annual IT management physical.  The components need to give blood, cough, and pee in a cup to ensure they’re healthy on IT cost and schedule, as well as on track to deliver functionality and performance.  GAO just released a new study – “Major Automated Information Systems (MAIS):  Selected Defense Programs Need to Implement Key Acquisition Practices.”

The report looks at 15 of DoD’s 42 MAIS – across Air Force, Army, DLA, and Navy/Marine Corps.  If you’re tracking DoD IT, the report’s worth a read.

Fog of War
Only 13 of the 15 had cost information available – here’s the chart.  Of the 13, 11 experienced changes in cost estimates.  Seven experienced increases – from seven to 2,233 percent.  Four experienced decreases – from four to 86 percent.  For example, Next Generation Enterprise Network (NGEN) Increment 1 dropped costs from $25.4 to $21.6 billion – due to competitive contracting.  Two stuck to their original budgets.

All but one of the 15 had schedule information available – here’s the chart.  Thirteen experienced timeline shifts.  Twelve slipped to the right – with delays from a few months to six years.  One program will beat the delivery date.

Four MAIS couldn’t deliver systems performance data.  Of the remaining 11, eight did not meet their functionality targets.  For those scoring at home, that’s more than half.

Risky Business
GAO weighed risk on three MAIS.  The Defense Health Agency’s Theater Medical Information Program-Joint Increment 2 had an excellent risk bedside manner.  The Navy’s Global Combat Support System had blind spots in risk and mitigation planning – although it’s starting to see more clearly.  The Defense Logistics Agency’s Defense Agencies Initiative program lacked robust risk categorization and management.

12 of 15 – Not Stellar
Net net, 12 of the 15 MAIS programs had cost, schedule, and/or system performance issues – five had challenges in all three areas.  If this is how custom-build programs are performing, the question begs, where’s DoD on cloud and shared services?
Steve O'Keeffe
About Steve O'Keeffe
The most connected executive in the government technology community – O'Keeffe is an accomplished entrepreneur and tech-policy expert, with 30 years’ experience as an innovator at the crossroads of government and industry. He founded MeriTalk, O'Keeffe & Company, 300Brand, among other entities. O'Keeffe is a fixture on the Hill, in both the House and Senate, testifying on IT, budget, government workforce, and the requirement to modernize government IT to enhance outcomes for the American people and government employees. He is a champion for change, simplification, transparency, and clear communication of IT value without jargon. A committed philanthropist, O'Keeffe has served for 15 years on the USO-Metro Board of Directors – Vice Chairman of the Board and Chair of the Annual Awards Dinner. He started his career as a journalist – O'Keeffe has contributed to The Economist, Government Executive, Signal Magazine, The Washington Post, and, of course, MeriTalk.