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Government Held Accountable for Software Spending in New DHS Bill

Posted by
Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Illinois)

In spite of the escalating intensity of the rhetoric surrounding the upcoming presidential elections, I do think there’s one thing we can all agree on no matter what our political leanings: the government should make every effort to cut wasteful spending.

Illinois congressman, Joe Walsh, has taken steps to root out waste within a relatively small, yet still significant, portion of the government’s budget: $40 billion in annual software spending. Congressman Walsh recognizes what companies in the private sector have known for a long time: that establishing some very simple software license management processes can help eliminate significant amounts of waste. According to Walsh, “There is a tremendous amount of waste currently institutionalized in the federal government’s current system (or lack thereof) in procuring and using software… Adopting best practices from the private sector around software asset management and license optimization is a painless and efficient way to eliminate this wasteful spending, while increasing the value being delivered to government employees.”

As such, Walsh has proposed a House amendment to the 2012 Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) authorization bill, which holds the department accountable for reigning in superfluous software spending. The amendment contains specific language requiring that the CIO:

  • Conduct and maintain a department-wide software license inventory
  • Measure usage of its deployed licenses
  • Evaluate software needs for the DHS for the upcoming two fiscal years
  • Develop a plan to reduce overall software spending

Walsh hopes the program adopted by the DHS will serve as a cost containment model for other government agencies and believes the government could reduce its current level of software spending by anywhere between ten and thirty percent. The congressman comments, “Given the critical need of the federal government to reduce spending, focusing on software license optimization is a no-brainer. If we can optimize the spend, the savings could amount into the billions. The passage of the amendment to eliminate wasteful software licenses brings us one step closer to realizing those savings.”

Rep. Walsh’s amendment to the bill was approved by the House Homeland Security Committee in October.