As part of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act of 2015, the Government Accountability Office is required to review the agency’s IT, data collection and management systems.
GAO has issued their report and concluded FMCSA has not completed an IT strategic modernization plan for its existing IT systems that includes scope,
an implementation strategy, schedule, results-oriented goals, and measures,
although it has recently awarded a contract to develop such a plan. The report goes on to state FMCSA “lacks complete plans to guide its systems modernization efforts. Specifically, the agency’s IT strategic plan lacks key elements. While the agency has an IT strategic plan that describes the technical strategy, vision, mission, and direction for managing its IT modernization programs, and defines the strategic goals and objectives to support its mission, the plan lacks timelines to guide its goals and strategies related to integrated project planning and execution, IT security, and innovative IT business solutions, among others.”
Another concern was the lack of agency leadership. Former FMCSA Administrator Scott Darling was an Obama appointee who stepped down after President Trump took office. Daphne Jefferson, deputy administrator since February 2015, has been in charge since Darling’s departure. It’s not unusual for a President to take this long to appoint a nominee. Beyond the top post, a Chief Information Officer position has been proposed but not yet approved so it remains unstaffed. The chief information officer is charged with overseeing the “development, implementation, and maintenance of the IT systems and infrastructure that serve as the key enabler in executing FMCSA’s mission.”
With these findings, the GAO questioned whether the FMCSA is effective at meeting users’ needs. Since their users are truck drivers, this report should be of particular interest to them.