USDA spends $2 million on internship program for one full-time intern

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The United States Department of Agriculture spent $2 million on an internship program that only hired one full-time intern, a recent audit of the USDA’s Office of the Chief Information Officer reveals.

A USDA Inspector General’s report detailing the mismanagement of the agency’s multi-million dollar attempt to beef up the USDA’s information technology security found that after an infusion of millions, “[b]ecause these projects were not effectively managed, the Department’s information systems are still at risk, even after expending $63.4 million of funding increases received in FY 2010 and 2011.”

Among the most striking findings in the IG’s report was the fact that OCIO had spent $2 million on an internship program that ended up hiring just one full-time intern.

“OCIO funded an intern program for a total of $2 million which, while funded as a security enhancement project, only resulted in one intern being hired full-time for ASOC [Agriculture Security Operations Center],” the report reads.

“This project is intended to develop and sustain a highly skilled IT security and computer technology workforce,” the report added. “Expenditures for FY 2010 and 2011 included over $686,000 for development and implementation of a networking website and approximately $192,500 in housing costs for two summers. While the intern program may be a beneficial step in the long-run, it did little to further the more pressing objective of improving USDA’s IT security.”

The audit, dated August 2, was first highlighted by The Heritage Foundation on Friday.

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