The WasteWatcher: The Staff Blog of Citizens Against Government Waste

FITARA Plans Moving Forward

The WasteWatcher is the staff blog of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW). For questions, contact blog@cagw.org.


Federal agencies were required to submit their implementation plans for the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) by August 15, 2015. The plans were developed and submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and indications from Federal Chief Information Officer Tony Scott, is that many agencies are embracing the changes to their CIO’s responsibilities.

Giving the agencies an overall grade of B+ on their plans, CIO Scott offered that OMB could have provided more clarification in its guidance to agencies in some areas, but that agencies had taken on the challenge of changing their CIO’s responsibilities to allow them to be more engaged in the acquisition process.

FITARA was included in the National Defense Authorization Act for 2015 last December as part of an effort to improve the process of acquiring information technology (IT) systems for the federal sector. The federal government spends nearly $81 billion on IT annually, much of which is allocated towards maintaining older legacy systems. By increasing the authority of agency CIOs in the acquisition and budgeting process for IT acquisitions, it is hoped that agencies would be better positioned to manage their IT portfolio.

An August 4, 2015 article in NextGov discussed how agency CIOs are already benefiting from increased engagement in the acquisition process. As noted in the article, the increased authority will enable agency CIOs to have a better understanding of legacy systems under their purview that may be vulnerable to cyber-attacks, so that they might take action to protect these systems.

While not a complete panacea towards addressing cyber-threats, FITARA does provide agency CIOs with the ability to take action to reduce risk factors. In addition, these CIOs will be better equipped to manage their IT portfolio in order to reduce wasteful spending on poor performing IT acquisitions.

 

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