Chairman, Ranking Member Respond to New GAO Report on PortfolioStat

WASHINGTON – Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-Del.) made the following statements on the issue of the new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on PortfolioStat.

The PortfolioStat review process has the potential to be a vital tool to identify and reduce duplication and waste in the federal government’s information technology budget.  Yet follow-through by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and executive branch agencies has been lacking. In 2013, agencies reported to GAO that they planned to save $5.8 billion between fiscal years 2013 and 2015 through the PortfolioStat process. However, agencies are now reporting to GAO that they will only save $2 billion by the end of fiscal 2015, a reduction of at least 68% in planned savings.

The departments of Defense and Homeland Security account for the vast majority of the reductions in planned savings, with $2.6 billion and $925 million less in savings than originally reported, respectively.

Further, because several agencies are not including planned savings from data center consolidation, potential savings are further understated.

In this report, GAO recommends that OMB better track agency savings, including establishing baselines and requiring the inclusion of data center consolidation savings, that it document what agencies do with those savings, and that it establish timeframes for PortfolioStat action items.

Chairman Johnson said, “It’s no secret that much of the federal government’s $80 billion annual information technology budget is spent inefficiently, is not effective, and lacks accountability. That needs to change. From redundant data centers to antiquated IT systems to failing projects, the Government Accountability Office has identified tens of billions of dollars that could be saved by better managing the federal government’s IT portfolio. Yet, as this report shows, some agencies seem to be content with business as usual. The Office of Management and Budget’s leadership in this area is lacking. I encourage the OMB and other agencies to implement the GAO’s recommendations without delay.  As the administration works to implement the committee’s Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act, I will continue to keep a close eye on its progress to ensure agencies are meeting the letter and spirit of the law.”

Ranking member Carper said, “Given the roughly $80 billion investment the federal government makes in information technology (IT) each year, agencies need to be doing all that they can to manage their massive IT portfolios in an efficient and cost-effective manner. Unfortunately, this report finds that less than half of federal agencies have met their PortfolioStat savings goals. Agencies must make IT management a higher priority, and seize the potential to achieve billions in cost savings by continually scrutinizing IT investments and taking more innovative steps to reduce waste and duplication. Last year, I worked with my colleagues to address some of the federal government’s IT management challenges in the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA), which was signed into law this past December. While passing FITARA was an important step to improving government wide IT management, proper implementation is key to its success. This report makes it clear that more work needs to be done. I will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress and the Administration to ensure agencies follow the recommendations in this report and take significant steps to improve the management of their IT portfolios.”