Will the government ever get good at technology?

It should have come as little surprise to find the federal government's Healthcare.gov website was riddled with problems. Let's be honest, the us government has track record that is utterly dreadful regarding high-tech projects.

A dismal history

The Los Angeles Times recently published an interesting story about the long history of government tech failures. The Times cites last year's rollout of SAM.gov, a website launched by the General Services Administration. The goal was to merge nine contracting databases into one site. However, the site's launch was delayed by two months. And once it launched, its performance was so awful, the government had to take it down for repairs.

The rule

Again, as the Times story says, the struggles of SAM.gov and Healthcare.gov may come as a surprise to nobody. The federal government has shown that it has virtually no ability to properly roll out new technology. As reported by the Times story, government websites crash much too often. And the federal government is always struggling in its efforts to modernize outdated tech. Just as irritating? The U.S. Military has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on new tech which it never even uses.

Shocking numbers

The Times story says that website problems occur in the private sector, too. Government failures, though, seem more egregious. Based on the story, the federal government will spend more than $76 billion this year on information technology. But a federal report released earlier this year found that 700 government tech projects were suffering problems. Those tech projects account for a combined $12.5 billion.


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