White House Unveils CIO Council 2.0

Carolyn Kaster/AP file photo

New structure for chief information officers should be more agile and efficient, officials say.

The White House released a plan on Friday to significantly streamline its top council of information technologists.

The plan will slim down the 17-year-old Federal Chief Information Officers Council from six major committees and 29 subcommittees to just three committees focused on portfolio management, information security and identity management, and  innovation. Those committees will report to a 14-member executive committee.

The new council will also include three communities of practice focused on accessibility, privacy and the federal IT workforce, with room for new working groups as necessary, according to a reorganization plan.

Some tasks previously managed by the council, such as establishing best practices and outreach, will be performed by council staff and contractors, the plan said.

“Under the new structure, the CIO Council will become more agile in its approach to supporting key administration priorities and will continue to develop valuable tools, resources, and data for federal CIOs and their staffs,” the council said in a blog post.

The new executive committee will be led by U.S. CIO Steven VanRoekel. Several executive committee members will represent key priorities. The innovation track, for instance, will be represented by General Services Administration CIO Casey Coleman and Homeland Security Department Deputy CIO Margie Graves. Security priorities will be represented by Defense Department Deputy CIO Robert Carey and Justice Department CIO Luke McCormack.

The executive committee will be tasked with reviewing all council projects to ensure they align with government priorities, establishing criteria for projects and approving funding, the plan said.

The CIO Council was established by executive order following passage of the Clinger-Cohen Act, the major 1996 overhaul of how the government buys and manages IT. It was written into law by the 2002 E-Government Act.

Congress is currently working on a new IT buying overhaul known as the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act. The bill was included as an amendment to the House version of the National Defense Authorization Act and is awaiting discussion in the Senate.

White House officials have expressed reservations about the congressional overhaul.