Friday, March 21, 2008

Census Bureau's $2 Billion overrun

This post on a ZDnet blog says that the US Census Bureau faces cost overruns up to $2 billion on an IT initiative replacing paper-based data collection methods with specialized handheld devices for the upcoming 2010 census. The Bureau has not implemented longstanding Government Accountability Office (GAO) recommendations and may therefore be forced to scrap the program. Harris Corp., the contractor associated with this incompetently managed initiative, was awarded a $600 million contract to develop the handhelds and related software.
Managing an $11 billion initiative is a daunting task and unforeseen problems are inevitable. Nonetheless, the GAO, going back to January, 2005, repeatedly identified significant procurement, management, and operational risks associated with this project. For reasons unknown, the Census Bureau chose not to follow these recommendations.
An accurate census in 2010 is of enormous importance, affecting (among other things) the allocation of Congressional seats and funds in many federal programs for the next decade.

Quite a lot more relevant information here.

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