Lawmakers voice concerns over payment delays and cost overruns in new Coast Guard financial system

The Coast Guard’s transition to a new Department of Homeland Security financial management system is under the microscope of the Senate Appropriations Committee, where lawmakers are seeking more information about delayed payments and cost increases.

The committee, in its report on its fiscal 2023 spending bill, is directing the DHS chief financial officer and chief information officer, along with the Coast Guard, to brief the committee on the delays once the annual bill of expenses becomes law.

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The Coast Guard’s transition to a new Department of Homeland Security financial management system is under the microscope of the Senate Appropriations Committee, where lawmakers are seeking more information about delayed payments and cost increases.

The committee, in its report on its fiscal 2023 spending bill, is directing the DHS chief financial officer and chief information officer, along with the Coast Guard, to brief the committee on the delays once the annual bill of expenses becomes law.

“The committee is concerned about late payments and significant cost escalations as a result of the Coast Guard’s transition to its new financial management system,” the committee report states.

Lawmakers want to know “the full extent of the delays,” as well as whether they have been fixed. The report also calls for the CFO and CIO to brief the committee on “the lessons learned from all previous transitions and the steps being taken to ensure that subsequent transitions are successful and profitable.”

The Coast Guard announced that it had fully transitioned to the Financial Management System Modernization solution in January. It is the third component of DHS to adopt the new system after the Office of Countermeasures for Weapons of Mass Destruction and the Transportation Security Administration, respectively.

But the challenges that existed before the official transition only deepened, with technical issues causing delays in payments across the Coast Guard, including contractor invoices, Permanent Change of Station (PCS) claims, temporary duty claims (TDY) and other expenses. At one point, the backlog reached 29,000 invoices.

In March, the Coast Guard established an incident management team to address technical issues and eliminate backlogs. The team is led by Rear Admiral John Hickey, director of operational logistics. The team has been working with contractors IBM and Oracle on FSMS technical issues.

In an Aug. 2 email, a Coast Guard spokeswoman said the backlog was down to 2,800 invoices. The service is now “on track” to pay all invoices more than 30 days old by the end of fiscal year 2022, according to the spokeswoman.

According to the spokeswoman, the Coast Guard has also completely cleared the backlog of PCS and TDY claims, respectively, and is processing those claims in real time.

“The Coast Guard continues to resolve flaws and improve FSMS and its interfaces,” the spokeswoman said. “While system responsiveness has improved and significant progress has been made in resolving issues, the Coast Guard continues to work with contractors to prioritize efforts, reduce latency, and address remaining deficiencies to improve user experience”.

Meanwhile, Senate appropriators are asking more questions about broader plans to modernize DHS’s financial systems. The report on the fiscal year 2023 spending bill directs DHS to “provide a strategy for the acquisition of FSM-related software and services, including an analysis of alternatives and a plan for how the Department will ensure full and open competition in the awarding of all related services. contracts”.

Budget documents show DHS is requesting $114 million for financial systems modernization in fiscal year 2023. The funding covers software upgrades for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, the DHS Science and Technology Directorate and the Department’s Management Directorate. .

“The Committee is concerned that there is an expectation of piecemeal implementation for these efforts without adequate planning for contingencies that preserve congressional prerogatives and, accordingly, encourages the department to ensure transitional flexibility,” the lawmakers write in the report on the fiscal spending bill 2023.



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About the Author: Chaz Cutler

My name is Chasity. I love to follow the stock market and financial news!