Subcommittee Held Biannual Hearing on Agency Compliance with FITARA
Washington, D.C. (Apr. 16, 2021)—Today, Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Government Operations, held the Subcommittee’s biannual hearing to assess implementation of the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA), Modernizing Government Technology (MGT) act, and the Federal Information Security Modernization Act of 2014 (FISMA).
At the start of the hearing, Chairman Connolly and Ranking Member Jody Hice announced the introduction of their bipartisan Performance Enhancement Reform Act, to ensure key stakeholders and resources are not left out of the creation of federal agencies’ performance plans.
The Subcommittee heard testimony from Mr. Gundeep Ahluwalia, Chief Information Officer of the Department of Labor; Mr. Jay Mahanand, Chief Information Officer of U.S. Agency for International Development; and Mr. Kevin Walsh, Director of Information Technology and Cybersecurity Issues at the Government Accountability Office.
Subcommittee Members and witnesses discussed the importance of capturing the technology acquisition best practices that have emerged amid the coronavirus pandemic and using them to make federal agency services and operations more accessible, nimble, and resilient.
- “The coronavirus pandemic has proven that IT is integral to the mission,” said Chairman Connolly. “As we have seen, both at the federal and state level of government, if the IT does not work, the mission is compromised.”
- “Early modernization investments served USAID well when the Agency formally transitioned its entire workforce to maximum telework in March 2020,” said Mr. Mahanand. “The COVID-19 pandemic required our staff to use more of our mobile and collaborative IT solutions to move to full-time telework, which highlighted how crucial IT is to our Agency.”
Witnesses agreed that the investments in federal IT, including from the Technology Modernization Fund, give Chief Information officers the tools they need to make agencies work better and serve the American people by making our IT systems less costly, more efficient, and more secure.
- “The [Department of Labor] is grateful to have recently received TMF funding for its enterprise data modernization initiative, which marks the second TMF award for the Department,” said Mr. Ahluwalia. “It will support the Department’s mission areas by allowing for the more effective deployment of DOL resources, unlocking the Department’s enterprise data sources, creating data management capacity, and ensuring timely delivery of appropriate information to the right Department of Labor staff and customers in a secure manner.”
- “Elevation of our agencies’ CIOs may be the most impactful effect of the Committee’s oversight,” said Mr. Walsh. “Here are some key highlights of the progress we have seen: major increases in the authority for the five CIOs that now directly report to the agency’s head or deputy; minor, but no less important increases in the authority and influence of all CIOs largely due to the attention the Scorecard has brought to the role; and better management of agencies’ IT portfolios to the tune of $22.8 billion saved or avoided.”
Subcommittee Members and witnesses agreed that the FITARA Scorecard is a proven oversight tool that holds agencies accountable and it must evolve over time to examine other key components of federal IT.
- “FITARA was ground-breaking legislation in many ways, not the least of which was elevating the CIO position within the government, and providing the ‘teeth’ CIOs needed to have visibility and approval for all IT investments across their agency,” said Mr. Mahanand. “FITARA has served as the cornerstone for establishing, measuring, and helping to advance critical IT programs for CIOs across the government.”
- “While the FITARA Scorecard has successfully helped agencies move the needle in improving IT practices, work remains,” said Chairman Connolly. “This Subcommittee will continue to evolve the Scorecard in ways that facilitate tracking improvement over time while adding new metrics to raise the bar on what is needed across the federal enterprise.”