Census Bureau: Important Activities for Improving Management of Key 2010 Decennial Acquisitions Remain to be Done Page: 2 of 76
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Highlights of GAO-06-444T, testimony
before the Committee on Government
Reform, Subcommittee on Federalism and
Why GAO Did This Study
The Census Bureau plans to
increase its use of automation to
conduct the 2010 Decennial
Census. Two key acquisitions are
the Decennial Response Integration
System (DRIS) and the Field Data
Collection Automation program
(FDCA). DRIS is expected to
standardize and integrate data from
census forms and other response
modes. FDCA is expected to
provide automation support for
field data collection activities. Last
year, you asked GAO to assess the
status, plans, and management
capabilities of both of these
projects. In January 2006, GAO
briefed the subcommittee staff on
the results of that work. At your
request, this testimony summarizes
key findings from that briefing,
including the status and
management capabilities of each
GAO recommends that the Census
Director ensure that the bureau
completes key activities needed to
effectively manage its acquisitions.
In commenting on a draft of GAO's
briefing, bureau officials generally
agreed with the recommendations
and noted that time and budget
constraints had driven the bureau
to proceed with its acquisitions
before all of the recommended
activities had been completed.
Officials stated that they plan to
complete these activities as soon as
To view the full product, including the scope
and methodology, click on the link above.
For more information, contact David A.
Powner at (202) 512-9286 or
Important Activities for Improving
Management of Key 2010 Decennial
Acquisitions Remain to be Done
What GAO Found
The Census Bureau has initiated efforts to acquire DRIS and FDCA, key
systems it needs to perform the 2010 Decennial Census. It awarded a
contract for DRIS in October 2005; the system is currently in a design and
development phase. The bureau expects to award a contract for FDCA
development in March 2006. While both projects' life cycle cost estimates are
currently considered procurement sensitive, together they are expected to
make up a large portion of the $1.8 billion program to develop, test, and
implement decennial census systems. Both acquisitions involve ambitious
schedules in order to be able to deliver the needed functionality to support a
planned 2008 census dress rehearsal and the eventual 2010 census activities.
While both project offices have implemented initial acquisition management
activities, neither has the full set of capabilities they need to effectively
manage the acquisitions (see table below). Specifically, the DRIS project
completed its solicitation activities and the FDCA project has completed
most of its solicitation activities. However, activities in other management
areas have been initiated but not completed. For example, the DRIS project
office has established baseline requirements for the acquisition, but the
bureau has not yet validated them or implemented a process for managing
the requirements. Also, while the FDCA project office has initiated efforts to
oversee the contractor's performance, such as requiring earned value
management reporting (a project management tool that integrates cost,
schedule, and scope of work to aid project planning and control) and hiring
staff with contracting experience, it has not yet determined which
performance measures it will use to track the contractor and its own internal
project office performance. Until these and other basic contract
management activities are fully implemented, both projects face increased
risks that the systems will experience cost overruns, schedule delays, and
Status of Acquisition Management Activities for Key Decennial Systems
Capability DRIS FDCA
Project and acquisition planning 0 0
Solicitation (the process leading up to selecting a contractor) _ 1
Requirements development and management O O
Risk management O O
Contract tracking and oversight/project monitoring and control O O
Process and product quality assurance O O
Executive oversight/governance O O
0 Key activities completed
O Initiated, but key activities remain to be completed
Source: GAO analysis.
1The contract is expected to be awarded in March 2006.
,United States Government Accountability Office
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United States. Government Accountability Office. Census Bureau: Important Activities for Improving Management of Key 2010 Decennial Acquisitions Remain to be Done, text, March 1, 2006; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc290828/m1/2/: accessed December 9, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.