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Watchdog: Follow the Money

Government Accountability Office finds repetitive IT investments across agencies wastes more than $300 million

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Homeland Security,Health and Human Services,OMB,Kelly Cohen,Waste and Fraud,Follow the Money,GAO

Repetitive technology investments by federal agencies wasted about $321 million over five years, a new Government Accountability Office audit shows.

Of the 590 IT investments reviewed by the GAO at the departments of Homeland Security, Defense, and Health and Human Services, 12 were found to be potentially repetitive. The GAO pointed out that although the number of investments was small, the cost was high. Spending on these investments from 2008 to 2013 cost about $321 million.

Two of the investments used at DHS for booking and processing illegal immigrants stopped under suspect of criminal activities totaled $30 million, for example.

According to the Office of Management and Budget, "Despite spending more than $600 billion on IT over the past decade, the federal government has achieved little of the productivity improvements that private industry has realized from IT," the audit reported.

GAO also made it blatant in the audit that it has issued multiple reports and recommendations to the OMB and other federal agencies to fix the issue of duplication with IT investments --- but to no avail.

"It is important that federal agencies avoid duplicative investments, whenever possible, to ensure the most efficient use of resources," the GAO said.

DHS, the Pentagon and HHS say they would address the investments called into question and develop a plan to possibly combine programs and thus save money.

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Kelly Cohen

Staff Writer
The Washington Examiner