The WasteWatcher: The Staff Blog of Citizens Against Government Waste

Time to Reduce Wasteful Government IT Spending

The WasteWatcher is the staff blog of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW). For questions, contact blog@cagw.org.


On January 22, 2013, the House Committee on Government Oversight held a hearing on reducing wasteful information technology (IT) spending by the federal government.  According to a video released prior to the hearing by the Committee, the federal government wastes nearly $20 billion in IT spending each year, the equivalent of the amount of taxes paid by the state of Kansas annually. 

Federal IT spending has nearly doubled from $46 billion in 2001 to $81 billion in 2012.  Among the wasteful spending highlighted at the hearing were a $1 billion Air Force logistics system which was cancelled in November 2012, and a $94 million USDA project to develop supply-chain management systems for food distribution, which after four years has no measurable results. The federal government must become more accountable for the wasteful spending in its IT departments.  There should be a top down review of the failures and successes in government IT procurement and program management in order to develop best practices for program management, improved training of the federal acquisition workforce, better sharing of resources across each agency, and migration of old legacy systems to ensure that taxpayers are getting the most from their federal IT dollars.  This hearing is a start in the process of evaluating the true cost of federal IT systems. Stricter inventory controls, purchasing guidance and better program management are necessary to rein in the out of control spending within federal IT.  Congress and taxpayers must continue to hold federal agencies accountable and insist on a reduction in wasteful IT spending.

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