Doubling Your “IT System” Pleasure

Information Technology Concept

In December 2012, the U.S. Air Force canceled an Information Technology (IT) program that it had been working on since 2005. The Expeditionary Combat Support System (ECSS) was an U.S. Air Force Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system that was designed to merge base level and wholesale logistics systems, and to deliver hard net-savings for the USAF. The Air Force scrapped the program after dumping $1 billion into the project, with no identifiable benefit to the military or to the taxpayer. Furthermore, the project would have required an additional $1.1 billion to fix and the system would not have been completed until 2020.

Why settle for one IT system when you can have two that do the same thing? According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), that is the practice at several federal agencies, which are administering overlapping and duplicative IT systems. The federal government spends more than $82 billion on IT each year, but according to a recent GAO report three agencies have spent $321 million for overlapping IT purposes over the past several years.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) spent over $30 million on two IT programs, both of which supported “immigration enforcement booking management, which includes the processing of apprehended illegal aliens suspected of committing criminal violations of immigration law.” The two systems identified by GAO are used by Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), but both collect nearly identical biographical data on illegal aliens arrested for committing crimes. However, DHS said it has no plans to address the duplicative expenditures.

Four duplicative IT systems were identified at the Department of Defense (DOD) with a price tag of $30.6 million. Two of these systems were in “Health Care Tracking” and two were in “Dental Management.” Unlike DHS, DOD agreed to work to eliminate the duplicity, but the results are yet to be seen. The most costly duplicative IT systems GAO found are maintained by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) totaling $260.38 million. Four of HHS’s systems related to “Enterprise Information Security,” meaning the systems were used to “maintain and secure the operations and assets of HHS and its components.” Two other duplicative IT systems were used for Medicare coverage and contained similar information by the same contractor. While HHS was reviewing whether it could consolidate the four systems related to Enterprise Information Security, it stated it was too costly to consolidate two systems related to Medicare coverage.


Information found for this “Your Tax Dollars @ Work” post was done by using a Google search. Information compiled from multiple public websites & media outlets.