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

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