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FCW : February 2015
CONGRESS 20 February 2015 FCW.COM for some very substantive hearings, and I certainly intend to push early on for rigorous oversight hearings on this subject,” Connolly said. He was also blunt about how the oversight panel can use the require- ments of the law to spur action. “It sets new metrics that allow us to measure how they’re doing. We can push on the personnel piece in terms of CIOs,” he said. Given the new range of IT plan- ning, personnel and budget authori- ties embedded in the CIO role under FITARA, he added that some agencies might “decide that new leadership is required.” Issa and Connolly could do a great deal for FITARA just by sticking around. The Clinger-Cohen Act was implemented without input from its sponsors because soon after its enact- ment Rep. Bill Clinger (R-Pa.) retired from Congress and Sen. William Cohen (R-Maine) was tapped to serve as sec- retary of Defense by President Bill Clinton. “Anytime Congress passes a major management statute, there’s an interest especially from the authorizing com- mittee in the first year or two years to see how the statute is being imple- mented,” said Dan Chenok, chair of the Industry Advisory Council and execu- tive director of the IBM Center for the Business of Government. “Most likely Congress will continue to be interested in these issues for the next year to two years and maybe longer.” Paul Brubaker, who helped write the Clinger-Cohen Act as a Senate staffer and later served in leadership roles at the Defense Department, said he is concerned that FITARA imple- mentation could suffer from a brain drain caused by Issa’s departure from the committee and the changeover of majority staff under its new chairman, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah). “Oversight is only as good as the knowledge of both the members and the underlying staffers,” Brubaker, who is now director of AirWatch’s U.S. fed- eral government business, told FCW. “Members don’t have the time to dive deep into these issues for the most part — into the nuances and operational aspects of the CIO role. Agencies know that, and they’ll take advantage of it.” Issa acknowledged that there might be a lack of institutional knowledge on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee but said many of his for- mer staffers have found new posts on authorizing committees in the House and Senate where they can bring their expertise to bear on IT issues. And FITARA isn’t just a tool for the governmentwide oversight committees. The authorizing committees for indi- vidual departments will now have an accountability mechanism for IT proj- ects that fall under their jurisdiction. The new faces of IT oversight Chaffetz, who was not interviewed for this article, is reviving the IT Subcom- mittee that was shelved by Issa, who preferred to handle IT issues at the full committee level. Rep. Will Hurd, a GOP freshman from Texas, has been tapped as chairman. Although commit- tee sources say the Government Opera- tions Subcommittee will take the lead in terms of staff resources and person- nel, the IT Subcommittee will play a big role in overseeing federal technology. Hurd served for nine years as an undercover officer in the CIA in the Middle East, South Asia and elsewhere. He also has a background in IT, includ- ing a degree in computer science from Texas A&M University and a stint at cybersecurity firm FusionX. Hurd resists the tag of “IT vendor” because he mostly worked on penetration test- ing for companies. Still, he’s a rare tech- nologist in a Congress that is made up largely of lawyers, businesspeople and career politicians. Hurd downplayed his technical chops in an interview with FCW, say- ing, “I may be able to bang out some Fortran 77 code right now.” But more important, he said, he could “under- stand and articulate technical issues “This is one of those legacy things, and Gerry Connolly and I will keep our eyes on it and take special interest and work together to see that it’s fully implemented.” — Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) APIMAGES 0215fcw_018-021.indd 20 1/27/15 9:30 AM
March 15, 2015