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
Steve O'Keeffe is the founder of MeriTalk, the government IT network. MeriTalk is an online community that hosts professional networking, thought leadership, and focused events to drive the government IT dialogue. A 20-year veteran of the government IT community, O'Keeffe has worked in government and industry. In addition to MeriTalk, he founded Mobile Work Exchange, GovMark Council, and O’Keeffe & Company.