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For example, the GAO has recommended the establishment of a common data processing facility for the foreign affairs community. Although the proposed facility has not yet been established, a joint working group of representatives from the foreign affairs agencies has been in existence since 1968 and some progress has resulted from its efforts.
The Department of State and the Agency for International Development formed the joint working group in response to our proposal for merging their data processing systems which we made in a report to them dated July 14, 1967. We suggested, at that time, that State and AID should jointly reconsider the merger of their data processing activities to achieve more economical and effective utilization of equipment without unnecessary proliferation and to improve systems design and programming for more effective management of ADP operations. In establishing the joint working group, State and AID agreed to explore not only a bilateral integration but a common data processing capability for the foreign affairs community.
We have kept in touch with the joint working group since it was formed in 1968. The group consists of representatives of State, AID, USIA, ACDA, and the Peace Corps who have been meeting monthly to discuss and plan their activities.
We have agreed that the establishment of a hardware center to serve all of the foreign affairs agencies might be a promising first step approach, but we believe that more than a hardware center will be needed if full economical and operating advantages are to be gained. We have advocated that the group direct its efforts toward the development of common systems to the maximum extent possible, the improvement of systems design and programming of all computer applications, and the consideration of existing or proposed plans of the various agencies for the upgrading and changing of their computer systems.
Currently we are undertaking Government-wide reviews of the management of computers and related communication systems, covering such significant problem areas as:
performance measurement of Federal automated systems—to ascertain the most effective means of improving the utilization of the total computer inventory of the Federal Government.
Government-wide management of software—to determine ways and means of improving the Government's position with respect to the heavy investment being made in software activities and to find ways to eliminate some of the duplication of effort which currently exists in the field.
interrelationship of computer systems with communication systems—to inquire into the entire area of management of computers and related communication systems on a Government-wide basis.
use of computer techniques to audit computer-based systems—to assist all Government auditing organizations to improve programs which involve the auditing of computer-based systems. Within the next 6 months, we shall perform some 20 surveys and reviews of certain aspects of ADP activities having Government-wide implications. We have scheduled, in addition to our current review of GSA's Government-wide management information system for data processing previously referred to, reviews of the utilization of ADP equipment; the acquisition of general purpose ADP equipment; the procurement of general-use program packages; the procurement of punch card equipment; and the adequacy of controls over computerized systems. We shall also explore certain other areas of cost reduction potential such as the feasibility of rehabilitating instrumentation tape and the multiyear leasing of ADP equipment as opposed to short-term leasing. We shall inquire into the actions presently being taken to implement the "single purchaser" concepts included in Public Law 89–306, dated October 1965.
In the civil agencies, we have planned some 20 additional surveys and reviews directed primarily to evaluation of specific ADP systems used by individual Government agencies or their contractors. Such work will include inquiry into the acquisition and utilization of particular computer systems, the effectiveness of computer applications, management controls of computer uses, and computerized management information systems.
In the defense area, our efforts have been directed toward specific requests of the House Committee on Appropriations involving primarily the degree of management control exercised over costly computer systems within the Department of Defense. During the past 212 years we have inquired into the practices followed by the military services in acquiring and installing new automatic data processing equipment.
We have suggested minimum criteria which we believe should be followed in the advance planning of computer system projects. We pointed out the need to minimize the development of management systems by one service without regard to interservice compatibility or the relationship of systems. We have issued reports on the Army's Combat Service Support System, on its Tactical Fire Direction System, on its centralization of Supply Management Operations System, and on the need to improve its Tank Automotive Command's Supply Management System. We have in process a review of the need, requirements, and implementation features of two large acquisitions: the Worldwide Military Command and Control System and the Air Force Advanced Logistic System, as well as a report covering the management of Department of Defense automatic data processing systems. We also plan to perform reviews of the Defense Supply Agency's Standard Automated Materiel Management System and the Navy's Integrated Command/Management Information System.
In support of international activities, we plan a review of the operations of the Regional Data Processing Center at Paris, France.
In summary, our practice over the past several years and our plans for the foreseeable future are to perform selected reviews of the planning for and installation of computers; controls over computer operations; the acquisition and utilization, of computers, peripheral equipment, and software; and the effectiveness of computers as they support program operations. We shall probe for areas in which cost economies, by maximizing competition or improving operations, are possible and shall perform reviews to promote effective management through the use of computers or other means. We shall approach this both at individual agencies and on a Government-wide basis. We have long recognized that the expanding use of computers warrants our continued attention.
Reporting systems applicable to computer inventories and computer utilization, as well as the promotion of competition in procurement of ADP equipment, software, and services, will continue to be high among the areas of our audit emphasis.
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, the results of our reviews support your Committee recommendation that GSA should make it possible for smaller manufacturers of ADP equipment to furnish part of the Government's requirements. Specifications should not be designed around the products of certain companies. which would have the effect of eliminating competition and stifling the incentive of smaller manufacturers.
As you know, your recommendation that GSA take action to accomplish this desirable objective fits in with GSA's responsibilities in the field of ADP equipment procurements as established by law.
In a Comptroller General decision of November 21, 1967 (B-151204) (B157587), we held that, under section 111 of the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949, as amended by Public Law 89–306, the General Services Administration had exclusive authority to procure all general-purpose ADP equipment and related supplies and equipment for use by all Government agencies.
This concludes our statement. We shall be pleased to discuss any of these matters in further detail or to answer any questions the Subcommittee may have on our statement.
STAFFING NEEDS OF NBS
Chairman PROXMIRE. You place a great deal of emphasis on this interface problem of making systems compatible and you seem to think, you recommend, that we consider increasing personnel in the Bureau of Standards because you say they have only a half a manyear a year, is that it? In other words, if one man works about 6 months on the average.
Mr. Staats. On the interface problem.
Chairman PROXMIRE. On the interface problem, and it is a problem you think could yield a great return if more rersonnel were put on it?
Would you have an estimate yourself before I ask Mr. Johnson of the Bureau of Standards how many men would be necessary, how much of an inrestment the Government would require to be able to break through here?
Mr. STAATS. I think he can give you a much better judgment on that, Mr. Chairman, than we could. We feel it is quite obvious that the present effort is inadequate.
Chairman PROXMIRE. Is this really, am I correct and accurate in saying, if we could provide this kind of personnel that in your view there is every likelihood that we could have a compatibility that would permit greater competition and would permit substantial significant savings to the Government?
Mr. STAATS. Yes. We are not saying, we are not suggesting, that nothing is going to happen unless this is done. Obviously it will, because there are other efforts on the part of the industry and on the part of the Budget Bureau and the GSA. But we do think a very important piece of this is in the Bureau of Standards, not only on the standard interface question, Mr. Chairman, but on the whole question of standardization and compatibility of Government equipment. I would like to point out this is really not a new point at all, because I chaired back in the Bureau of the Budget, before I became Comptroller General,
an interagency task force and assisted in preparing a report that President Johnson made to the Congress on the whole subject of management of automatic data processing in the Federal Government. One of the recommendations in the report and one of the conclusions reached by the Congress, in part based on this report, was that the National Bureau of Standards should be responsible for the day-to-day guidance and monitorship of an ADP standardization program for the development of criteria for determining standards primarily for Government needs but also to be responsive to nongovernment requirements and developments in industry working, of course, with the Bureau of the Budget and the GSA in carrying this out.
Chairman PROXMIRE. Could I ask, is Mr. Johnson here, Mr. Johnson of the Bureau of Standards?
TESTIMONY OF ROBERT L. JOHNSON, OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY
OF COMMERCE, ACCOMPANIED BY JAMES P. NIGRO, CHIEF, DIVISION OF INFORMATION PROCESSING TECHNOLOGY, NATIONAL BUREAU OF STANDARDS
Mr. JOHNSON. Yes; I am Mr. Johnson, but I am a staff member of the Office of the Secretary of Commerce; not the Bureau of Standards. Mr. Nigro of the National Bureau of Standards is here with me.
NBS BASICALLY AGREES WITH GAO
Chairman PROXMIRE. Well, would either you or Mr. Nigro tell me, do you agree with the conclusions by Mr. Staats?
Mr. NIGRO. I think for actual assigned personnel he is probably correct, from my knowledge of the center. They are attached to the office and their entire work is development of ADP standards and activity in NASA and other Federal agencies.
Chairman ProxMIRE. The main thrust of my question, Mr. Nigro, is whether you agree that if we can provide more personnel to work on this interface problem of making it compatible, would this, in your view, enable us to be in a position to get greater competition and to reduce the costs of the Government in this area ?
Mr. Nigro. I basically believe that. It is a difficult job but I think if we devote our time and some technical effort to it we should assist in the more equitable distribution of peripheral equipment among the different manufacturers.
Chairman PROXMIRE. You feel that this is the heart of it, as Mr. Staats seems to feel ?
Mr. NIGRO. I think one of the biggest problems we are going to be faced with is not necessarily the peripherals now in use with the third generation machines, but how do we approach the long-range program. In other words, as new computers come out we need, I might say, standards of convention or rules to follow in design of computers versus interfaces so we don't have to treat each one as a black box,
Chairman PROXMIRE. Could you give us a notion of what this means in terms of numbers of personnel, time that they would be assigned to this, perhaps man-years would be a better term, and also the amount of saving, potential saving, that is involved ?
Mr. NIGRO. Well, the potential saving, I think from my point of view, I have to agree with the potential saving analysis that has been made by GSA and by the Comptroller General of GAO. I am not going to question that. I think they are valid.
Chairman PROXMIRE. Yes; that is fine.
Now, as far as our technical effort on this activity, we need, in addition to the 14 which are working on other programs, and this half man-year that is working on interfaces, I would say, eight to 10 engineering type people and analysts, and probably—do you want a dollar value of additional moneys needed for this?
Chairman PROXMIRE. Yes; it would be helpful—what you would need in the way of personnel and how much is the budget request.
Mr. NIGRO. I would say round it off to 10 extra additional people either hired or reprogramed within our own center to tackle this job and about, I would say, over a 2-year period probably an increase of roughly, I would say, $300,000 to $400,000 a year in our budget.
Chairman PROXMIRE. About $300,000 a year, did you say, in your budget?
Mr. NIGRO. That is right.
CURRENT USE OF NBS STAFF
Representative GRIFFITHS. What are the 14 people doing now?
Mr. NIGRO. We have people actively involved in the software program the validation of the COBOL package, working on the Fortran packages, standards of documentation, which will permit more efficient use of other programers' output because the format will be the same so they can both understand without having to redo or invent the wheel.
We are working on the area of the media for computers, in other words, magnetic tape, the disk packs, We are involved in—by the way we produce the National Standard unrecorded reference tape within this center for industry to use and Government.
Representative GRIFFITHS. Is that any saving to the Government?
Mr. NIGRO. Yes. On the particular reference tape, I think it can be supported by General Services Administration. After we came out with this unrecorded reference tape which is used by GSA in the qualified products list (QPL) of computer tape purchases, the number of qualified manufacturers has risen and they all appear to be in a much better spectrum of what I call the recording characteristics. So we can now have a better quality of tape, and lower price.
SAVINGS ON MAGNETIC TAPES IN MILLIONS ANNUALLY
Representative GRIFFITHS. How much money did it save the Government?
Mr. Nigro. Well, I think as a result of our tape, plus the procurement policies of GSA, why I think the price of tape, I can't give you a total, has gone from say $28 a reel down to $13 to $15 over the last year or so, which gives you some indication of saving. I think we buy several millions of tape reels a year.
Representative GRIFFITHS. What do you think it saved us, Mr. Staats?
Mr. MAHONEY. I, of course, have been very close to this whole program in the Bureau of Standards and this one specific effort on magnetic tape certainly is saving us several million dollars annually.
Representative GRIFFITHS. But this interface is going to save hundreds of millions. Let's put the first one first.
Mr. Nigro. Speaking in my present capacity, and I think I am speaking for the Director of the Bureau of Standards, beginning this fiscal year, we are going to reevaluate some of our effort to see if we can't apply more activity in the interface program. In fact, it is apparent that we have to.
GAO ESTIMATES ADPE ANNUAL COSTS $ 4 TO $6 BILLION
Chairman ProXMIRE. I would like to ask both of you men, Mr. Staats, what's your best estimate of the amount spent annually by the Federal Government for the purchase and use of automatic data equipment for all agencies. As you know, I said in my opening statement it had been $3 billion, and now it is estimated at between $4 and $6 billion, can you give us something more precise and accurate than that?
Mr. STAATS. If I may, I would like to ask Mr. Mahoney because my estimate has to be looked at both for general purpose and specialized use such as intelligence, weaponry, and space. But the focus we have had primarily in this statement today on interface has to do with general purpose type of equipment.
Chairman PROXMIRE. I understand.
Mr. MAHONEY. Yes. The earlier cost that was mentioned of $4 to $6 billion seems reasonably close. Now you have to recognize that the Federal Government reporting system reports on equipment installed in-house. We have no comparable system for equipment installed in contractor facilities and equipment used by Government contractors in grant-in-aid programs, universities, and things of that sort. So
Chairman PROXMIRE. Let me interrupt this for a moment, Mr. Mahoney. You know as much about this as anybody that I can think of. You have been inquiring into it, spending a lot of time on it, is that