Auditors Fault GSA Travel System Security - InformationWeek

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Auditors Fault GSA Travel System Security

An Inspector General found the General Services Administration isn't properly checking the performance of a system that processes $28 million in travel vouchers per year.

Federal auditors have criticized the security and design of a General Services Administration e-travel system, suggesting changes to it as part of a yearly review of the agency's IT process.

In the Office of the Inspector General's semiannual report to Congress, auditors said that the GSA's implementation of the E2 Solutions travel management system has security and usability issues that, among other things, don't properly measure the performance of the system and make it unfriendly for users, particularly disabled ones.

"GSA's implementation of E2 has not provided the level of scrutiny necessary to ensure that internal and financial controls adequately mitigate operational risks," auditors wrote in the report. "In addition, targeted goals and performance measures necessary to comprehensively assess how well E2 meets GSA's travel management needs are not yet in place."

Specifically, the report said the GSA needs to assess the costs incurred with E2's implementation against the multiple contracts used to facilitate operations of the system. Also, the agency needs more oversight and control points when it comes to distributing funds.

The GSA launched E2 in April 2002 as one of three travel management systems provided under the e-Government Travel Service initiative. The system handles travel arrangements for government employees from planning and authorization through reimbursement of travel expenses.

Auditors estimate that E2 processes about 36,000 travel vouchers at a combined value of $28 million each year.

The Office of the Inspector General noted several improvements the GSA should make to E2. Specifically, it suggested that the agency should ensure that relevant costs for the program are identified and tracked, and develop specific goals and performance measures for the system.

The GSA also should address employee concerns with the system when it makes changes to the system, according to the report.

"Our review also found customer satisfaction concerns that need to be resolved," according to the report. "Employees do not consider E2 to be user friendly or intuitive. In particular, management needs to reexamine the system to ensure that people with disabilities have appropriate access to maneuver through the system and complete online official travel transactions as required."

It's likely the GSA will make changes to the system in a new version of E2 it's working on. According to a listing on FedBizOpps.gov, the agency currently is soliciting proposals for the new system and is prepared to award contracts to support the application for up to 15 years.

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