Federal Manager's Daily Report

Two years after a report raising alarms about the costs and risks of federal agencies running obsolete hardware and software, the recommendations made at the time still have largely not been carried out, GAO has told a Senate hearing.

In that report, GAO identified 10 IT systems in government that it said are most in need of modernization, including two systems more than 50 years old, two others more than 40 years old and one running on a largely discontinued programming language. It recommended that the eight federal agencies involved identify and document modernization plans for those systems, including milestones, a description of the work necessary, and details on the disposition of the legacy system.

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However, while all eight have developed modernization plans since then, five of the eight have not fully addressed those three issues, the witness said. “It is essential that agencies implement our recommendations and these plans in order to meet mission needs, address security risks, and reduce operating costs,” he said.

The 2019 report further recommended that OMB direct agencies to identify all legacy systems needing to be replaced or modernized but OMB since then has imposed such a requirements only on the most high-risk programs, he said.

The hearing followed by about a week on in which GAO said that agencies still are lagging in planning for their IT workforces, another issue it has warned about repeatedly.

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