The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has a bigger headache on its hands after a major contractor with a massive contract just went belly up under their noses.
Imperatis Corporation, which was hired in June 2014 by OPM, stopped working in May 9 because they were in financial disarray. The same day OPM terminated its contract citing nonperformance and defaulting on its contract with about a month’s worth of work still left to be done on their IT systems. Interestingly, we don’t know how much the contract was for or when it’s supposed to end.
Imperatis was hired by OPM to implements a program, called the “shell,” a multi-year effort to modernize the OPM’s networks applications and data center. These are much-needed upgrades that could improve the federal agency’s vulnerability to cyberattacks. The time is well overdue given that last year the OPM was hacked in a major way. Thieves exposed records of over 20 million current, former, and prospective employees, and their families as well as some media. And over 5.6 million fingerprints were taken.
All of this occurred while Imperatis was busy modernizing OPM’s system which costs $67 million and they want another $37 million more. Federal News Radio reports:
The IG said in a September 2015 management alert about the project there was confusion over Imperatis’ exact role in implementing the shell.
The IG said in the alert that OPM is at a “high risk of project failure,” unless it writes a major IT business case to ensure it has the budget and project management tools it needs to finish the infrastructure plan.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, followed with letters to OPM, Imperatis and DHS’s U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT). Chaffetz specifically wanted to know Imperatis’ role in the shell project as well as details about the contract.
One major reason hackers were successful in taking the data of more than 21 million current and former federal employees was OPM’s antiquated infrastructure.
OPM asked for $37 million for the shell program each of the last two years, but Congress rejected that request.
Perhaps what is most mind-boggling is that Imperatis was no stranger to troubled government contracts. They came under scrutiny in the past, when employees were allegedly recorded in cellphone videos reportedly drinking on the job and injecting drugs.
We have to wonder what kind of security risk this opens OPM up to now that Imperatis is dead and the modernization project has yet to be completed?
The federal government seems to have a track record for hiring problem contractors and then continuing to waste our taxpayer dollars on the same contractors, just look at CGI Federal, ObamaCare’s IT creators.