GAO: Taxpayer Savings Unclear on Data Center Consolidation

Published: May 14, 2013

FAIRFAX, VA – Today, ahead of a field hearing to be held at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Government Operations released a chart detailing the Government Accountability Office’s analysis of the Administration’s progress on the goal of closing 1253 data centers among 24 major agencies in order to save $3 billion taxpayer dollars per year. The field hearing begins at 2:30 p.m. and can be streamed live here.
“We need to take advantage of technology to save taxpayer money, and that means doing more with less by consolidating federal data centers,” said Subcommittee Chairman John Mica, R-Fla. “But the Administration needs to be transparent and honest about the savings that are being achieved or not being achieved.”
As of December 31, 2012, agencies had successfully closed 420 data centers among the 17 agencies that reported information to the GAO. The GAO has found that agencies will still be short of approximately 200 from its goal of 1253 closures.
However, according to the GAO’s analysis it is unclear if the current consolidation efforts are going to result in taxpayer savings. Of the $3 billion goal, GAO states “… as of November 2012, the total savings to date had not been tracked but were believed to be minimal.”  Only $65.3 million in savings, planned cost savings, and cost avoidances will be achieved in Fiscal Year 2013. Only $575 million is even planned by the end of Fiscal Year 2014- all at the Department of Defense. The 23 other agencies did not even report savings information to GAO, including 19 agencies that have closure plans in place.
A summary of additional material made available after the GAO completed its work is available here. The full GAO report will be released at the hearing. The hearing titled “Data Centers and the Cloud: Is the Government Optimizing New Information Technologies to Save Taxpayers Money?” will be held at 2:30 p.m. today in the Meese Conference Room in Mason Hall at George Mason University, 4379 Mason Pond Drive, Fairfax, VA. Parking is available nearby.
The following witnesses are expected to testify:
·         Mr. David Powner, Director, Information Technology Management Issues, U.S. Government Accountability Office
·         Mr. Bernard Mazer, Chief Information Officer, U.S. Department of Interior
·         Mr. Kenyon Wells, Vice President of U.S. Federal, CGI Federal
·         Mr. Steve O’Keeffe, Founder, MeriTalk
·         Ms. Teresa Carlson, Vice President, World Wide Public Sector, Amazon Web Services