IG faults FCC's computer spending plans

IG faults FCC's computer spending plans

The Federal Communication Commission's inspector general has criticized the commission's capital investment program, saying that it has led to overlapping IT hardware purchases.

The commission's managing director, Andy Fishel, rejected the criticism. FCC uses capital planning tools that assure IT buys make sense, he said in a written response to the IG's findings.

In the recent Report on Audit of Auctions Information Technology Capital Investment Practices, the IG reviewed the systems the commission uses to manage auctions of electromagnetic spectrum licenses. 'FCC does not have an effective capital investment program,' the report said. 'This violates federal laws and regulations such as the Clinger-Cohen Act and OMB Circular A-130.'

The IG hired with KPMG LLP of New York to audit the commission's IT spending for its spectrum auction programs. The auditors found that two FCC divisions, the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau and the IT Center, independently budgeted for and plan to buy four storage area networks at a cost of $5.2 million total.

'By purchasing one SAN to support FCC headquarters operations, the commission could possibly have reduced these expenditures by approximately $1,760,000,' the report said.

The IG urged the commission's staff to study the possibility of the IT Center using the wireless bureau's SAN in Gettysburg, Pa., rather than buy an additional SAN. The move would save $500,000, the IG estimated. Both the center and bureau work out of the Gettysburg FCC facility as well as the agency's headquarters.

Fishel said the separate SAN purchases are justified because the computer rooms of the wireless bureau and the IT center are too far apart. He added that the additional SAN is needed to support the commission's continuation-of-operation plans.

In fiscal 2004 the commission will develop an IT expenditure management plan that will comply with the Clinger-Cohen Act and OMB Circular A-130, Fishel said.

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