Subcommittee’s Bipartisan Oversight Leads to Significant FITARA Scorecard Improvement
Washington, D.C. (Aug 3, 2020)—Today, Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, the 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).
Since FITARA’s December 2014 enactment, federal agencies have developed and significantly improved their information technology postures. FITARA 10.0 marks the first time in the Scorecard’s history that all 24 agencies have received a passing grade. FITARA, however, is more than a letter grade – it can mean the difference between an agency that serves the public and one that fails to do so.
Chairman Connolly stressed the importance of good federal IT, especially in times of crises:
“With the coronavirus resurging as states pursue reopening, the stakes for effectively implementing FITARA are higher than ever. When executed well, government IT modernization can ensure the efficient delivery of critical services, improve the government’s knowledge and decision-making, and save lives. When executed poorly, it can lead to outright failures in serving the American people when they need the government the most. Simply put, the fate of the world’s largest economy rises and falls with the ability of government IT systems to deliver in an emergency.”
Witnesses included Clare Martorana, Chief Information Officer for the Office of Personnel Management; Jason Gray, Chief Information Officer for the Department of Education; Maria A. Roat, Deputy Federal Chief Information Officer for the Office of Management and Budget; Carol Harris, Director of IT Management Issues for the Government Accountability Office; David Powner, Director of Strategic Engagement and Partnerships for The MITRE Corporation; LaVerne Council, Chief Executive Officer at Emerald One, LLC; and Richard Spires, Principal at Richard A. Spires Consulting.
Witnesses and Members agreed that:
FITARA is delivering for agencies and agencies are delivering on FITARA:
- “Without FITARA [the Department of Education] would not have been able to complete the massive IT modernization initiative last year and certainly not within the timeframe I described,” stated Jason K. Gray, Department of Education CIO.
- Agencies saved $4.7 billion though data center optimization and closing 6,300 data centers.
- Agencies saved $20 billion through PortfolioStat.
- Scorecard 10.0 is the first scorecard in which all agencies received a passing grade, and 23 agencies now have an “A” on software licensing.
FITARA must continue, but it must also evolve:
- Work remains to increase oversight of federal IT:
- 1/3 of agency CIOs are not reporting to agency heads
- 1/3 of agencies have not established a working capital fund
- OMB and Congress are not in agreement on data center consolidation metrics and definitions and GAO has warned that OMB’s approach ignores more than 2,000 data centers, each of which constitutes a potential security vulnerability for agencies.
- GAO mentioned the need for an aggressive push from agencies to stand up working capital funds enacted by the MGT Act, “so that [agencies] are able to put those savings that they generate from software licensing, form PortfolioStat, and data center consolidation into that fund so that they can use those monies and the flexibilities associated with a working capital fund to modernize their platforms.”
- Federal agencies need to increase their focus on mission critical IT systems and retiring legacy IT systems. There is also a dire need to enhance cybersecurity oversight.