Sensenbrenner: GAO Report Finds Justice Department Not Providing Effective Oversight of Key IT Systems

U.S. Newswire
25 Nov 12:10
Nov. 25, 2002

To: National Desk
Contact: Jeff Lungren or Terry Shawn, 202-225-2492,
both of the House Committee on the Judiciary;

WASHINGTON, Nov. 25, 2002/U.S. Newswire/ -- House Judiciary Committee
Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner Jr.(R-Wis.) has released a General
Accounting Office (GAO) study which found the Department of Justice
(DOJ) "has not effectively overseen INS's (Immigration and
Naturalization Service) investment in IT (information technology)
systems, but improvements are planned."

Chairman Sensenbrenner; Ranking Member John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.),
Immigration, Border Security, and Claims Subcommittee Chairman George
W. Gekas (R-Penn.), and Ranking Member Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Tex.)
in November 2001 requested the GAO, the non-partisan investigative
arm of Congress, investigate whether DOJ's oversight of INS's
IT systems has been effective.

"I am concerned about how the Justice Department is managing the
$2 billion spent annually by the department on IT systems. DOJ
must make the effective use of technology and IT systems a priority
that it clearly has not been. In fact, GAO found that there was
only one staff member assigned to oversee INS's development and
management of 107 IT systems," Chairman Sensenbrenner stated.

"INS systems are pivotal in providing law enforcement with
information about potential terrorists and illegal aliens charged
with criminal activities. With the INS moving to the Department of
Homeland Security, I hope that the Chief Information Officer of
that department takes note of this report and puts oversight in
place before more INS systems failures take place and more public
money is mismanaged," Chairman Sensenbrenner added.

One of the key systems evaluated by the GAO was the failed IT
effort to replace the system that keeps track of visitors to this
country. The Automated I-94 system was "retired" by the INS in
2002 because it failed to meet stated requirements despite an
investment of more than $31 million. INS has one of the largest IT
budgets among Federal agencies at $459 million last year.

The report notes that "for the four key IT investments that we
reviewed, Justice has not followed its own guidance and measured
progress against approved cost, schedule, performance, and benefit
commitments." Furthermore, according to the GAO, Justice
officials are still not monitoring such progress and do not know
whether key IT systems will actually work as well as anticipated or
whether they will deliver the benefits intended. GAO cites Justice
officials' explanations that INS IT oversight has not been a high
enough priority and was hindered by INS's lack of up-to-date
baseline and project data that would permit such oversight.

The report confirms that INS does not have meaningful project
data that would allow measurement of progress, such as project
plans with current baseline cost and schedule data, and progress
against expected benefits.

The GAO report can be found at: The Report
Number is: GAO-03-188


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