IT Procurement Reform Comes with a Price Tag: $145 Million

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That’s what the Congressional Budget Office estimates agencies would spend to implement FITARA.

A bipartisan bill aimed at reforming the way agencies buy information technology would cost $145 million to implement through 2018, the Congressional Budget Office has determined.

The Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act, known as FITARA, would give agency chief information officers more authority and responsibility for justifying IT expenditures and establish a center to coordinate IT acquisitions.

The bill would create the Federal Infrastructure and Common Application Collaboration Center, which would advise agencies on IT procurement. To fund the center, the legislation directs 5 percent of the amounts currently set aside from money appropriated for goods and services through governmentwide and multiple award contracts be deposited in a Federal IT Acquisition Management Improvement Fund. The collaboration center could tap the fund to improve IT purchasing and recruit and train IT personnel.

FITARA would expand the role of agency CIOs and require them to fulfill new reporting requirements. CBO estimates it would cost about $50 million to pay for the new staff authorized by the legislation and another $15 million for administrative outlays. An additional $18 million in new spending would be required for improvements to federal IT infrastructure, CBO found.  

FITARA is notable for being one of the few bipartisan bills to emerge from the House this Congress. California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and Virginia Democrat Gerry Connolly, ranking member on the subcommittee on technology, procurement and information policy, cosponsored H.R. 1232. A version of the bill was amended to the National Defense Authorization Act, which passed the House in June.

CBO conducted its assessment assuming the bill would be enacted in early 2014.

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