Auditors: DHS should track consolidation savings

Auditors: DHS should track consolidation savings

The General Accounting Office has urged the Homeland Security Department's CIO to break out the savings from consolidating component agencies' systems by cause, source and time period.

The congressional audit agency also called on CIO Steve Cooper to develop a review schedule for technology investments overseen by the central IT staff.

Officials from the Office of Management and Budget and DHS told GAO auditors orally that they agreed with the findings of GAO-04-323, 'Information Technology: OMB and Department of Homeland Security Investment Reviews.'

The report summarized the ways in which OMB as well as DHS and its predecessor, the White House Office of Homeland Security, formed investment review groups to manage long-term IT issues in the department. OMB in July 2002 issued two memos directing agencies that were to be folded into the department to suspend funding of new IT projects until the review groups approved them.

According to the report, the investment review groups reviewed five component agency systems, using an informal, undocumented process. The groups imposed conditions on approval of funding for systems that the agencies submitted for review.

GAO found that the savings resulting from the reviews, if any, remain unknown. 'DHS' chief information officer stated that the department plans to track savings related to the consolidation and integration of systems and has established a mechanism for doing so,' the report said.

DHS officials have identified about 100 systems eligible for review by the department's two top-level boards. The auditors noted that the department, however, has not established a method for ensuring timely reviews.

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