Coburn: Agency IT project info due Oct. 13

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) is giving agencies until Oct. 13 to provide him with information on all IT projects worth at least $250,000.

The chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information and International Security sent the letter to agencies' secretaries and administrators Sept. 14, shortly after the hearing the subcommittee held on IT projects at risk.

Agencies are expected to provide the subcommittee with a list of all IT projects worth at least $250,000. And for each project, agencies are to list the year the project began receiving funding, its original baseline estimate, how much has been spent on it to date, whether there have been any cost overruns and whether the project has ever been given a new baseline estimate as well as the amount of the new estimate.

'What the Hill is getting is a greater deal of transparency about how we are managing programs, which ones are troubled and which ones require attention beyond what has previously been provided,' said one agency IT official, who requested anonymity. 'It is not a bad thing at all.'

Coburn also wants the name of all vendors involved in the project.

'As you know, managing IT projects is a complex and difficult task due to the constant threat of cost overruns, schedule delays and performance deficiencies,' Coburn said in the letter to agency heads. 'Because of this, it is not uncommon for a project that is experiencing problems in any of these areas to begin with one baseline cost, only to be given a new baseline once more realistic expectations are determined. It is essential for Congress to understand the extent to which 're-baselining' occurs within federal IT projects to ensure projects are being delivered on-time and on-budget.'

The Office of Management and Budget has kept a list of at-risk IT projects since 2003. In 2005 officials added a list of projects that deserve extra attention, called the high-risk list. Last month, OMB officials made both lists public after refusing to release the lists to lawmakers or the public previously.

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