26 Government IT Projects Under Evaluation

About $30 billion worth of projects are on Vivek Kundra's high-risk list and could be on the chopping block.

Elizabeth Montalbano, Contributor

August 24, 2010

3 Min Read

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The Obama administration has released a list of 26 high-priority IT projects it plans to evaluate, fine-tune, and possibly cut as part of an ongoing effort to make federal IT spending more efficient.

U.S. CIO Vivek Kundra unveiled the list in a teleconference Monday, a move that was expected after he said in late July that he would review and identify 25 to 30 high-risk IT projects.

While the goal is not necessarily to cut the projects -- rather, the administration wants to see how they can be salvaged if made more efficient and cost-effective -- it's possible some may be canceled if they can't be turned around.

The projects come out of 15 departments and, if completed, would cost the government about $30 billion.

As the list stands now, the biggest-ticket item on the list comes out of the Department of the Interior -- a $7.6 billion project to build an optimized federal model for IT infrastructure to meet Obama administration goals, according to the federal IT Dashboard.

However, several projects from the Department of Defense (DoD) do not yet have a projected cost, according to the list.

Other billion-dollar projects that will be evaluated include one out of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for $4.5 billion to consolidate cargo-processing systems; another out of the Department of Transportation for $3.7 billion to replace the air traffic control automation system; and one out of the Department of Justice (DoJ) for $3.4 billion to allow FBI biometric systems to share data.

Of federal agencies, the DoD has the most projects on the list, with a total of four, followed by the DHS and the DoJ, which have three each.

Bringing cost-effectiveness and efficiency to the U.S. IT department are priorities Kundra has set since taking his post, and was a point he reiterated last week when he spoke at the NASA IT Summit.

In his comments there, Kundra noted that some projects already have been cancelled because they weren't working, such as a Veterans Affairs financial-system overhaul and the Department of Defense's plan to build an integrated human-resource system.

In addition to identifying and possibly scaling back troubled IT projects, the Obama administration also has ordered a data center consolidation project agency-wide to reduce IT-spending inefficiency.

The federal government grew its data centers from 432 in 1998 to more than 1,100 today, and Kundra told NASA Summit attendees that the government must also stop "the madness" of wasting resources in unnecessary data centers.

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