Information Technology: Significant Problems of Critical Automation Program Contribute to Risks Facing 2010 Census Page: 4 of 26
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Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee:
Thank you for the opportunity to participate in today's hearing to
discuss our past work on the Field Data Collection Automation
(FDCA) program-a key information technology acquisition that
includes systems, equipment, and infrastructure for field staff to use
in collecting census data for the 2010 Decennial Census. As you
know, the decennial census is mandated by the U.S. Constitution
and provides data that are vital to the nation. These data are used to
apportion the seats of the U.S. House of Representatives; realign the
boundaries of the legislative districts of each state; allocate billions
of dollars in federal financial assistance; and provide social,
demographic, and economic profiles of the nation's people to guide
policy decisions at each level of government.
Carrying out the census is the responsibility of the Department of
Commerce's Census Bureau, which is now preparing for the 2010
Census. The next decennial census date is April 1, 2010, and the
Secretary of Commerce is required to report to the President the
tabulation of total population by states by December 31.'
The Bureau plans to rely on automation and technology to improve
the coverage, accuracy, and efficiency of the 2010 Census. The
Bureau estimated that its information technology (IT) acquisitions
would account for about $3 billion of the currently estimated total
$11.5 billion cost of the entire census. It is also holding what it refers
to as a Dress Rehearsal, a period centering around a mock Census
Day on May 1, 2008. Planned Dress Rehearsal activities include
operational testing of the 2010 Census systems in a census-like
The Census Bureau has recently indicated that the FDCA program is
likely to incur significant cost overruns. As requested, our testimony
today will summarize our past reports on the FDCA program,2
113 U.S.C. 141(a) and (b).
2GAO, Census Bureau: Important Activities for Improving Management of Key 2010
Decennial Acquisitions Remain to be Done, GAO-06-444T (Washington, D.C.: Mar. 1, 2006)
and Information Technology: Census Bureau Needs to Improve Its Risk Management of
Decennial Systems, GAO-08-79 (Washington, D.C.: Oct. 5, 2007).
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United States. Government Accountability Office. Information Technology: Significant Problems of Critical Automation Program Contribute to Risks Facing 2010 Census, text, March 5, 2008; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc294133/m1/4/: accessed November 15, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.