The Government Accountability Office has identified 13 urgent issues that will require the attention of incoming President Barack Obama and the 111th Congress...
On the list: the 2010 Census
The decennial census is a mammoth undertaking that affects congressional districting and the allocation of $300 billion a year in federal aid to state and local government. “Soon after taking office, the new administration will need to address the significant management and technology challenges facing this complex and costly effort,” the GAO said. “Early in 2009, the first nationwide field operation of the 2010 Census — address canvassing — is scheduled to begin. During this operation, the Census Bureau will rely, for the first time, on hand-held computers to verify address and map information.”
GAO last year identified the census as a high risk area because of challenges in IT management. “The Census Bureau is strengthening its oversight of IT management activities, and a limited field test of the hand-held computers is scheduled for December 2008,” GAO said. “Importantly, there will be little time for refinements if performance problems persist.”
GAO said that Census needs to make sure that all IT systems are fully tested and improve the reliability of cost estimates for the program.