Census 2020: Examining the Readiness of Key Aspects of the Census Bureau’s 2020 Census Preparation

Hearing Date: June 9, 2016 9:00 am 2154 Rayburn HOB

TAKEAWAYS:

  • Significant changes are needed at the Census Bureau to prevent massive cost overruns with Census 2020.
  • Mismanagement is a problem at the Bureau. As the 2018 end-to-end test deadline draws closer, there are still 178 decisions for management to make to ensure readiness of the modernized system.
  • The Bureau must narrowly focus and hasten IT modernization efforts in order prevent cost overruns and meet Census 2020’s immutable time frame.
  • By all accounts, the Bureau does not have a clear backup plan in place should its modernization efforts fail to meet the completion deadline.
  • Long-term vacancies in critical management positions have hindered meaningful progress at the Bureau.

PURPOSE:

  • To evaluate the Census Bureau’s efforts to redesign and modernize data collection and processing for the 2020 decennial census.
  • To examine the impact of key vacancies in Bureau leadership roles.

BACKGROUND:

  • In 2015, the Bureau released the 2020 Census Operational Plan, which outlined efforts to modernize the decennial census including deploying new IT systems and the Census Enterprise Data Collection and Processing (CEDCaP) program.
  • The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently completed a review of CEDCaP and identified a number of impediments to implementation.
  • The GAO also expressed concerns about longstanding vacancies in important IT leadership roles at the Bureau.

KEY VIDEOS:

Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT): “So you have a schedule to develop the schedule, but you say you’re on schedule.”

Government Operations Subcommittee Chairman Mark Meadows (R-NC): “Here we are about to do end-to-end testing in a year and a half and we’ve made 50 percent of the decisions. Let me tell you, that’s a disaster waiting to happen.”

Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC):  “Folks want to be good citizens, they want to participate, they want to get you good information, but there’s also stuff they might not want to tell you.

Witnesses and testimonies

Name Title Organization Panel Document
Mr. John H. Thompson Director U.S. Census Bureau Document
Mr. Steve I. Cooper Chief Information Officer U.S. Department of Commerce Document
Mr. Harry A. Lee Acting Chief Information Officer U.S. Census Bureau Document
Ms. Carol Cha Harris Director, Information Technology Acquisition Management Issues U.S. Government Accountability Office Document
Ms. Carol N. Rice Assistant Inspector General, Office of Economic & Statistical Program Assessment U.S. Department of Commerce Document

Related Documents

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