recommended reading

Ignore Those Rumors: The White House Doesn’t Oppose IT Reform, Lawmaker says

Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va.

Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va. // Caitlin Fairchild/GovExec.com

The perception among federal technology watchers that U.S. Chief Information Officer Steven VanRoekel and other officials from the White House’s Office of Management and Budget oppose a plan to overhaul government IT spending is off the mark, a co-sponsor of that bill says.

“Unfortunately, I believe a false narrative has formed in the Fed IT community suggesting that OMB opposes or has serious concerns with FITARA [The Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act], Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., said in an email to Nextgov Thursday.

“In fact, based on my personal conversations with Steve, I believe nothing could be further from the truth,” Connolly continued. VanRoekel’s office has made several encouraging overtures to Connolly’s office, he said, “indicating a desire to improve our communication and foster a more collaborative relationship between us.”

Connolly cited VanRoekel’s testimony during a July 25 hearing before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s Government Operations panel, as evidence of the CIO’s non-opposition. Connolly is the ranking democrat on that panel.

VanRoekel didn’t directly address FITARA during that hearing but spoke positively about some of the bill’s goals, such as efforts to raise the accountability of chief information officers at federal agencies and to reduce the stock of federal data centers.

VanRoekel’s office declined to respond directly to Connolly’s comments but also pointed to VanRoekel’s testimony during the July 25 hearing.  

Connolly co-sponsored FITARA with House Oversight Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif. A version of the bill was included as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, which passed the House in June. The bill must still win inclusion in a compromise version of the defense policy bill to be negotiated between the House and the Senate before final passage.

One of FITARA’s most significant reforms is that it would give agency CIO’s budget authority over their agencies’ IT spending, a power currently only held by the Veterans Affairs Department CIO. VanRoekel has said in the past that budget authority is less important for agency CIOs than having “a seat at the table” when major initiatives are discussed by agency leadership.

FITARA would also make agency CIOs presidential appointees.

VanRoekel told WJLA’s Government Matters program earlier this month that he’s concerned FITARA isn’t broad enough because some provisions don’t apply to the Defense Department. Connolly disputed that in his email to Nextgov.

While existing statutes would exempt the Defense Department from some elements of FITARA related to CIO authority, the department will be the largest beneficiary of FITARA reforms, Connolly said, because it’s the largest user of large, interagency contract vehicles managed by the General Services Administration.

FITARA would create new “centers of excellence” to bring added expertise to bear on these contracts.

“It is simply baffling that one could read FITARA and conclude that it does not apply to DOD,” Connolly said. 

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.