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Saturday, February 5, 2011


Costs soaring for Archives' digital library, auditors say

Lisa Rein, Washington Post Staff Writer, reports that the cost of building a digital system to gather, preserve and give the public access to the records of the federal government has ballooned.

It could go as high as $1.4 billion, or as much as 41 percent over budget.

Government auditors plan to file a full report Friday.

And of course the buck is being passed.

The Government Accountability Office blames the cost overruns and schedule  delays on weak oversight and planning by the National Archives, which awarded a $317 million contract to Lockheed Martin Corp. six years ago to create a modern archive for electronic records. But is anyone going to blame Lockhead Martin for the blunders involved? 

'We are extremely pleased our team was selected by National Archives,' said Don Antonucci, president of Lockheed Martin Transportation and Security Solutions, at the time (September 2005).

There is no cause for complacency, now.  The Archives' largest and most complex capital project ever has been plagued by problems, and it is still struggling to conduct effective oversight, auditors said.

The Archives is best known for the agency responsible for preservation of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and other historical documents. But it is also the repository of billions of pages of e-mails, memos and electronic files created by every branch of government.

These, along with a growing number of audiovisual holdings, must be preserved for the public, by law, which has put the Archives under growing pressure to manage the digital avalanche.

So, I wonder -- are they going to change the law that makes this operation impossible?

Or simply throw more money at it?

1 comment:

David Malcolm Shein said...

Sigh. This is what happens when you hire an aerospace company to do IT work. Yes by all means, hire the auto mechanic to do your appendectomy. My sister calls this country a plutocracy. This is just another example in support of that notion.