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Nextgov Event: FITARA and the Role of the CIO

Federal CIO Tony Scott

Federal CIO Tony Scott // Bethesda AFCEA

The Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act is the most important legislation in years to directly affect the federal IT community, and it’s being treated as such by agencies as they’ve shored up incremental development, risk assessments, IT portfolios and data center consolidation metrics over the past 18 months.

Congress continues to weigh in, exercising a firm oversight hand and ensuring FITARA doesn’t become – as FITARA father Rep. Gerry Connolly likes to say – a “box-checking exercise.”

Because FITARA grants agency chief information officers budgetary authority over IT assets, the CIO role is inherently important to the long-term success of the act.

Are agency CIOs really getting a seat at the table with the other C-suite executives?

The issue came up last month before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, with IT subcommittee chairman Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, calling CIO authority “disproportionately more important” than other key FITARA metrics.

Dave Powner, director of IT management issues for the Government Accountability Office, said the law isn’t being implemented the same across all agencies, and hinted at power struggles in some agencies.

“Some [chief financial officers] are worried about losing power; some are working closely with CIOs,” Powner said. “We’ve seen some progress, but we need more equal footing. In trying to get arms around the IT budget, I don’t think CIOs can do that without CFOs’ help. If you don’t fix CIO authority, you’ll continually struggle.”

Other CIOs, like Transportation Department’s Richard McKinney, have sounded off on the importance of budgetary authority, too.

On Wednesday, Nextgov will host an event titled, “FITARA and the Role of the CIO,” where we’ll have some of the government’s top tech officials on hand to discuss how FITARA has affected CIOs and agencies across government.

Speakers include:

  • U.S. CIO Tony Scott
  • Dave Powner, director of IT management issues, Government Accountability Office
  • Minh-Hai Tran-Lam, acting deputy CIO, business management & planning, State Department
  • Richard Spires, CEO, Learning Tree International
  • Madison Smith, senior legislative assistant, Office of Rep. Will Hurd
  • Steve Cooper, CIO, Commerce Department
  • Jonathan Alboum, CIO, Agriculture Department

For more information or to register, visit our webpage.

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