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