Press Releases

Sen. Carper Responds to Report on Agencies' Data Centers Consolidation Plans

GAO finds only a few agencies submitted complete plan

Jul 23 2012

WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, highlighted a recent report that found that a majority of federal agencies have continued to fail to complete required plans for data center inventories and consolidations. The Government Accountability (GAO) report found that out of 24 agencies reviewed, only 3 agencies submitted complete inventories and only 1 agency submitted a complete consolidation plan, which were required to be submitted the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) by September 2011. This report comes as a follow up to a July 2011 report that found several agencies that submitted incomplete inventories and consolidation plans. In addition to Sen. Carper, the report was requested by Sens. Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Scott Brown (R-Mass.) and Reps. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), Ben Quayle (R-Az.).

In its report, GAO also found that only nine federal agencies completed a master program schedule and only five agencies provided a cost-benefit analysis, both of which are critical aspects of consolidation plans. A program schedule serves as a road map for carrying out the consolidation project and the cost-benefit analysis provides the estimated annual cost and savings from the consolidation. In response to its findings, the GAO recommended that the federal agencies complete the missing elements of their inventories and consolidation plans in order to achieve this initiative's estimated cost savings of $3 billion.

"For too long the federal government has wasted taxpayer dollars by pouring money into unnecessary information technology (IT) infrastructure," said Sen. Carper. "Data centers have been bleeding energy and money throughout the federal government and are a perfect example of inefficient IT spending. Since taking office, President Obama and his team have taken important and innovative steps to trim the federal government's IT portfolio, including costly data centers. In 2010, when the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) launched the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative, I said the goals and timelines were ambitious, but fortunately – two years later – we've seen progress and are on a path to closing those data centers we no longer need.

"But while the government is making progress on closing unnecessary data centers, there's clearly more work to do," Carper continued. "Today's Government Accountability Office report details the remaining challenges agencies face in implementing the Administration's consolidation goals. OMB has reported that closing roughly one-third of the government's current data center portfolio by 2015 could result in $3 billion in cost savings. That is money we can't afford to waste. However, agencies must do a better job of complying with OMB's requirements and submit critical aspects of their plans for consolidation. If not, we run the risk of not achieving the full potential savings. As the saying goes, 'if you're not planning, you're planning to fail' which is why it is imperative that all federal agencies not only plan for data consolidation efforts but submit completed and well thought out plans so we can continue to realize progress on this initiative. Those of us in Congress will be paying close attention to how closely agencies comply and stick to their consolidation plans."

The OMB launched the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative in 2010 to assess how many federal data centers the government owned and to consolidate or close down unnecessary ones. As part of the initiative, OMB required federal agencies to submit detailed plans on their data center inventories and their consolidation plans.

To read the report, please visit http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-742.