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View Diary: Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: Obamacare successes; misunderstanding Senate power grabs (131 comments)

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  •  System failures abound in government and even (0+ / 0-)

    private sectors. Further this has zilch to do with NSA. Where you got that from I haven't a clue (we don't know much about NSA system failures).

    Obviously you don't know much about the history of just the government failures that are highly public—private sector ones are often hushed—and involve almost every agency. Literally billions have gone into systems that were essentially scrap. ACA's system problems just have more to do with the public, are high profile at the moment and thus that is getting the attention. Your "solution" would just leave a string of high level "firings" or "resignations" while not fixing a complex problem few understand—and many spout off about (particularly in Congress).

    Just a few I have at immediate hand on my system:

    New York Times, January 14, 2005:

    WASHINGTON, Jan. 13 - The Federal Bureau of Investigation is on the verge of scrapping a $170 million computer overhaul that is considered critical to the campaign against terrorism but has been riddled with technical and planning problems, F.B.I. officials said on Thursday.
    More on that at this Washington Post article.

    New York Times, December 8, 2012:

    For the United States Air Force, installing a new software system has certainly proved to be a wicked problem. Last month, it canceled a six-year-old modernization effort that had eaten up more than $1 billion. When the Air Force realized that it would cost another $1 billion just to achieve one-quarter of the capabilities originally planned — and that even then the system would not be fully ready before 2020 — it decided to decamp.
    And that was integrating commercial software:
    Installing COTS to run an enterprise is not a straightforward matter. The Air Force would have to make myriad adjustments to accommodate its individual needs, and in a military setting that would mean meetings and more meetings, unlike anything ever experienced in a Silicon Valley company. Still, it is hard to understand how the Defense Department blew a billion dollars before the plug was pulled.
    C/NET April 12, 2007:
    The Internal Revenue Service has been trying for years to upgrade its antiquated mainframe computers, which process Americans' tax returns by churning through millions of lines of assembly code written by hand in the early 1960s.

    But after more than 20 years and over $5 billion, there's still no end in sight. Not all computer systems can talk to each other, information isn't available in real time, and tax returns filed on paper are often manually entered by typists.

    I could put up dozens more, each for a different department or agency, but this should give a clue.

    The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

    by pelagicray on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 10:06:48 AM PST

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    •  Biggest Failure (0+ / 0-)

      I didn't say there weren't other failures. Indeed I just agreed there have been. There will be.

      The ACA rollout is a half $billion failure, bigger than those. But it's not the dollar value that makes it so big. It's the failure to implement the biggest legislative accomplishment of the administration - while it's still the hottest target for attack by the opposition. Which makes it the biggest failure policywise as well as politically.

      I mentioned the NSA because that is another example of failure (even if by design) that demands firing the people at the top.

      You keep arguing about lesser failures. Tell me: what kind of failure justifies firing the Cabinet member who's responsible? So far you're saying none do.

      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

      by DocGonzo on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 02:15:20 PM PST

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      •  Just a sample. You must have missed the little bit (0+ / 0-)

        in the USAF one "$1 billion" eaten up.

        Cabinet members don't "do IT" developments. That is done by career staff. Where the top political appointees should focus is on that staff's expertise—and by the time you are into development, after contracts are let, it is too damn late. A likely problem with the ACA thing is the very fact the development was withing HHS. That organization is not among the top rank in complex IT developments. Unfortunately the system in place pretty much requires developments take place in the administratively responsible department even if it is not something the organization does frequently or well.

        Not going to "argue" any more, but the idea of firing Cabinet members over any particular IT fiasco, and some have run to billions that were never fixed, is nonsense. The reality is that it is an across the government problem and needs fixing by Congress and the Executive, possibly by establishing an independent, fully professional IT development organization such agencies are required to use.

        The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

        by pelagicray on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 04:48:27 PM PST

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