On May 11, 2017, the U.S. China Economic and Security Review Commission (“Commission”) issued a Request for Proposal to “to provide a one-time unclassified report on supply chain vulnerabilities from China in U.S. federal information technology (IT) procurement.”

Congress established the Commission in 2000 to monitor and report to Congress on the national security implications

IT-acquisition reform remains an area of ongoing concern for Federal agencies and government contractors.  Indeed, as we previously discussed, the GAO has added IT Acquisitions and Operations to its bi-annual list of programs it identifies as posing a high risk for fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement.  Strengthened by Congress’ passage in December 2014 of the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act (“FITARA”), OMB has implemented several initiatives to reduce redundancy, improve efficiencies, and lower costs with respect to the government’s procurement and management of IT resources.  However, a recent Department of Defense (“DoD”) Inspector General (“IG”) audit report analyzing one of these initiatives—the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative (“FDCCI”) —highlights the ongoing struggle that Federal agencies face when seeking to execute IT reform.  If DoD responds to this audit report by stepping up its efforts under FDCCI, one result could be increased opportunities for IT contractors offering cloud computing and other services.
Continue Reading DoD IG Report Reveals Ongoing Struggles in IT-Acquisition Reform

The Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) has issued final guidance (the “Guidance”) implementing the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA).  We have previously discussed FITARA’s requirements that seek to reform and streamline the Government’s information technology (“IT”) acquisitions, which account for approximately $80 billion in annual spending.

At its core, the Guidance implements the mandate of FITARA to increase the involvement and responsibility of agencies’ Chief Information Officers (“CIOs”) in IT procurement and management.  According to Tony Scott, the United States Chief Information Officer, the Guidance also “position[s] CIOs so that they can reasonably be held accountable for how effectively their agencies use modern digital approaches to achieve the objectives of effective and efficient programs and operations.”  Indeed, although CIOs may delegate some of their decisions concerning IT resources to other agency officials through CIO Assignment Plans, the Guidance makes clear that CIOs remain accountable and must monitor those to whom they delegate decision-making authority.


Continue Reading OMB Issues Final Guidance Implementing FITARA

As federal agencies are slated to spend almost $80 billion on federal information technology (“IT”) acquisitions this fiscal year and the OMB prepares to issue its final guidance on the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (“FITARA”), GAO has released two reports this month that discuss ongoing efforts to improve IT procurement.  Combined with GAO’s recent addition of IT acquisitions and operations to its list of high-risk programs (which we previously discussed), these new reports underscore GAO’s ongoing emphasis on reforming IT acquisitions to reduce redundancy and increase efficiency.

In the first report, GAO added federal software licenses to its list of twenty-four areas in which it discovered evidence of fragmentation, overlap, or duplication in federal government programs.  Citing its May 2014 report on federal agencies’ management of software licenses, GAO explained that a vast majority of agencies do not have sufficient policies to manage their software licenses.  According to GAO, this mismanagement results in over-purchasing licenses, which leads to unnecessary spending, and under-purchasing licenses, which leads to fees for violating licensing agreements.  Therefore, GAO reemphasized that agencies should implement software license management policies that, among other things, provide for centralized management of software licenses and ensure that a software license inventory is created and maintained.
Continue Reading GAO Reports Highlight Ongoing Struggles in Reforming IT Acquisitions and Operations

GAO has added IT Acquisitions and Operations to its list of programs it identifies as posing a high risk for fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement.  This biennial list contains GAO’s analysis of newly- and previously-added high-risk programs and recommendations for improving their economy, efficiency, and effectiveness.

In adding IT Acquisitions and Operations to this list, GAO observed that “federal IT investments too frequently fail to be completed or incur cost overruns and schedule slippages while contributing little to mission-related outcomes.”  The GAO noted that “the federal government has spent billions of dollars on failed and poorly performing IT investments, which often suffered from ineffective management, such as project planning, requirements definition, and program oversight and governance.”  As a result, improving IT acquisition requires “[p]erseverance by the executive branch in implementing GAO’s recommended solutions and continued oversight and action by Congress.”


Continue Reading IT Acquisitions and Operations Added to GAO’s List of High-Risk Programs

A major piece of IT acquisition reform legislation called the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (“FITARA”), on which we have previously reported, was included in version of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015 (“NDAA FY 15”) passed by the House on December 4, 2014, along with other significant IT reform provisions related to open systems requirements for the Department of Defense (“DoD”).

The FITARA portion of the bill includes provisions that would require the federal government to:

  • empower Chief Information Officers (“CIOs”) and prevent the CIO from delegating the duty of reviewing IT contracts before the agency enters into the contract;
  • provide a publicly available list for each major information technology investment, both new and existing, that lists information specified in forthcoming investment evaluation guidance;
  • engage in a detailed review of high-risk information technology investments to identify problems;
  • inventory all information technology;
  • implement a federal data center consolidation initiative, which will include publicized goals regarding cost savings and optimization improvements to be achieved as a result of the initiative, and must be performed consistent with federal guidelines on cloud computing and cybersecurity such as FedRAMP and NIST guidelines;
  • expand the use of specialized IT acquisition experts;
  • develop a federal strategic sourcing initiative to be developed by GSA, which will allow for the use of governmentwide user license agreements.

Additional provisions require the use of open and modular strategies by the DoD, including the following requirements
Continue Reading Federal Information Technology Reform Act Included in the House-Passed NDAA FY 15

Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-Calif.) recently introduced the Reforming Federal Procurement of Information Technology (“RFP-IT”) Act. This Act is similar in many ways to earlier drafts of the FITARA bill on which we have previously reported, with a few notable differences. Among other things, the RFP-IT Act would:

  • significantly increase the Simplified Acquisition