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House Extends FITARA Provisions On Data Centers, IT Dashboard

Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va.

Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va. // Alex Brandon/AP

The House has adopted an amendment that would extend provisions of a bill outlining federal data center consolidation plans and agencies’ use of dashboards for assessing IT projects.

The amendment, adopted Wednesday, extends a handful of requirements under the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act set to expire in 2018 and 2019.

Passed as part of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, the extensions would remove the sunset dates for three requirements: one for the IT Dashboard, which agencies use to make public their IT investments and which chief information officers use to review project risk levels; another for PortfolioStat, the process by which agencies review their investments; and the Data Center Consolidation Initiative, which requires agencies to submit a data center inventory to the Office of Management and Budget as well as a plan for consolidating those.

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The extension also removes the sunset period on the Government Accountability Office’s reporting requirement on the data center consolidation information submitted to the Office of Management and Budget.

The first two requirements were set to expire Dec. 1, 2019, and the new amendment makes them permanent. The latter two were extended from Oct. 1, 2018 to Oct. 1, 2020.

“We need to let agencies know that they are not going to be able to run out the clock on FITARA’s transparency and reporting requirement," Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., said in a statement defending the limited extension of that provision. Connolly sponsored the initial FITARA legislation.

“Very simply, the federal data center problem is bigger than we initially thought,” he said in that statement. ”In 2009, the government estimated it had roughly 1,100 data centers. In reality, by 2015, we found we had more than 11,700.”

The government is “potentially leaving money on the table” if FITARA’s data center consolidation requirements expire, he said.

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., also sponsored the amendment.

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