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United States Government Medicine

"War Room" Notes Describe IT Chaos At 346

dcblogs writes "U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has released 175 pages of "War Room" notes — a collection of notes by federal officials dealing with the problems at They start Oct. 1, the launch day. The War Room notes catalog IT problems — dashboards weren't showing data, servers didn't have the right production data, third party systems weren't connecting to verify data, a key contractor had trouble logging on, and there wasn't enough server capacity to handle the traffic, or enough people on the help desks to answer calls. To top it off, some personnel needed for the effort were furloughed because of the shutdown. Volunteers were needed to work weekends, but there were bureaucratic complications."
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"War Room" Notes Describe IT Chaos At

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  • by bogaboga ( 793279 ) on Friday November 08, 2013 @09:31AM (#45367149)

    "War Room" Notes Describe IT Chaos At

    "Third World characteristics describe War Room deliberations at"

    After all, had this happened in some far away land, we'd be congratulating ourselves for "not being them", right? And how we, being the "first world", are better at implementation, with "checks" and "balances" at every step.

  • The only winning move is not to play.

  • by Ashenkase ( 2008188 ) on Friday November 08, 2013 @09:35AM (#45367171)
    But ends up costing multiple times more in the end.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      But ends up costing multiple times more in the end.

      Yes, as opposed to buying something like Oracle, where the highest bidder wins, and also ends up costing multiple times in the end.

    • Lowest bidder, or only bidder?

      This is an honest question...If you Google "who bid on" several seemingly right-leaning sites [] say there was only one bid and it was won by Ms Obama's crony CGI.

      Reuters [] and others say there were 4 total bids, although I cannot find who those other 3 bidders are or what their bids were. And the end of that article states "No other IT contractors have come forward to say they, too, bid on the contract to build"

      So honest question: which is i
  • by cookYourDog ( 3030961 ) on Friday November 08, 2013 @09:46AM (#45367247)
    Vietnam, Iraq, the postal service, the NSA Utah data center, the response to hurricane Katrina, prohibition, no child left behind, the war on drugs, the war on poverty, shuttle Columbia, the great society, Japanese internment camps, Guantanamo, the F35 program, the war on terror, Fannie Mae, Amtrak, Railhead, Teton dam, Fair Housing act, TIDE, Social Security, the Bay of Pigs, Olmsted dam, Mariner 1, Iran-Iraq war, Solyndra, and IRS modernization...

    ...they were bound to get right.
    • by tekrat ( 242117 )

      You forgot how troops were sent into the Iraq war without body armor, and the families of soldiers had to take up collections of donations to buy body armor for their sons and daughters because the military wouldn't supply it to the troops. That's our federal government right there.

  • by Mr D from 63 ( 3395377 ) on Friday November 08, 2013 @09:47AM (#45367255)
    Who feels confident that cyber-security protocols can be effectively managed under these conditions?
  • Underfunded (Score:5, Informative)

    by Lee Riemenschneider ( 2859815 ) on Friday November 08, 2013 @10:09AM (#45367435)
    CBO estimated ACA would require $10B. Congress approved $1B. []
  • by slashmydots ( 2189826 ) on Friday November 08, 2013 @10:16AM (#45367505)
    That's all fluff and deflecting the real problem. They hired idiot contractors who suck at their job and were just there to make everything overpriced and make a fortune for the company owner. THAT is the real problem.
  • by onyxruby ( 118189 ) <<ten.tsacmoc> <ta> <yburxyno>> on Friday November 08, 2013 @10:19AM (#45367543)

    The thing is that things are now working the way they should be. That is were now criticizing the web site, the process, the contracts and learning lessons. This is how government is supposed to work. The republicans are going to town with criticizing the many faults of the website - which is perfectly fair and what they should have done to begin with. The Republicans never should have held the American public hostage to try and kill the ACA and they did tremendous damage to the economy by shutting down the government.

    The Democrats meanwhile should be held accountable for an absolutely atrocious website and project that never would have passed even the most basic of reviews in the private world. The Republican criticisms of the website are pretty much well founded from what I have seen. If the Democrats had reached out to the private sector instead of designing the thing by political committee it could have been built to a much higher standard.

    I'm not taking sides on this argument, what I am doing is saying that all government across the political spectrum should be held to this level of scrutiny and accountability. The long standing methods of bidding out government work have led to nothing but rampant fraud and inefficiencies that could never work anywhere except the federal government. Reform is needed, and if this website finally causes reform of government bidding and projects than it will have done more good than it ever meant too.

  • by cjjjer ( 530715 ) <> on Friday November 08, 2013 @10:21AM (#45367561)
    Just like most large scale web deployments where there is instant user base of millions...
  • by Andover Chick ( 1859494 ) on Friday November 08, 2013 @10:27AM (#45367639)
    I work at a major bank. This sort of non-sense has peaked in recent years at big organizations. One would have thought the business side would have become more IT savvy in the past couple of decades. Instead, they still think a magic wand can be waved in the USA or India which will cause a computer system to emerge. Perhaps the business side users are peddled such fantasy by Infosys, Tata, EDS, CGI, CSC, etc. But more likely it's business users who refuse to work collaboratively with IT. They think because they got a bunch of low cost Indian or American programmers, usually with one dimensional skills sets, whacking away at the keyboard that a quality system will emerge. Instead, they get crap. It's like a parade ground crowed with marchers who have no coordinated direction. There's no orchestration, no appreciation for logistics, and not sense of engineering. If an engineer tells the business side something cannot get done, then they replace the engineer with someone who'll tell what they want to hear. The best analogy is Hitler working with his generals in WWII. He thought flags on the battle maps could be moved around like a paste-it board, not concept of logistics. And when a general told Hitler his plans were imbecilic, then the general was shot. Thankfully for humanity Hitler's idiocy destroyed the Third Reich. What else will the business users destroy?
  • by z_gringo ( 452163 ) <> on Friday November 08, 2013 @10:59AM (#45367955)
    All that reads like pretty standard War Room activities for a launch of this size. There is a reason they chose the name "War Room" for these things. It is just a central location where issues are triaged, and it can be chaotic after a launch. This is an example of the press trying to make a big story out of something that isn't news by reporting on something that most people don't understand.

    I would be more concerned by the lack of a war room than from war room chaos.

I am more bored than you could ever possibly be. Go back to work.