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FCW : July 15, 2015
July 15, 2015 FCW.COM 21 Federal CIO Tony Scott told a House panel that implementation of the Fed- eral IT Acquisition Reform Act will give agencies some flexibility, but the Office of Management and Budget will have the final say on plans to grant top-level agency CIOs more authority over IT budgets and hiring. The final guidance on FITARA’s implementation, issued by OMB Director Shaun Donovan on June 10, establishes a “common baseline” that gives CIOs the power to approve the IT portion of an agency’s budget request and the hiring of component-level tech officials. It also defines the CIO’s role in set- ting program management and acquisi- tion strategies. Furthermore, the guidance gives CIOs the authority to designate prox- ies to handle some day-to-day decisions in a “rules-based manner” that could kick in at a certain dollar amount or type of IT activity, or on a bureau-by- bureau basis. “We believe that this combination of a common baseline coupled with a flexible CIO assignment plan allows for agency CIOs to retain oversight and accountability while minimizing the chance for bottlenecks,” Scott said at a joint hearing of the House Over- sight and Government Reform Com- mittee’s IT and Government Operations subcommittees. Agencies are required to send their implementation plans to OMB by Aug. 15. Once OMB has approved the plans, they must be posted on the agencies’ public websites. The new authorities are scheduled to be implemented by the end of the year. The battle for exemptions However, don’t be surprised if there are a few bumps in the road. Richard Spires, former CIO at the Department of Homeland Security, said cultural issues could impede acceptance of the centralized CIO authorities at the components and bureaus of highly fed- erated departments. “They’re used to a certain level of autonomy,” Spires said in his testimony before the subcommittees. “So you’ll have major programs that have a lot of BY ADAM MAZMANIAN HOW FLEXIBLE SHOULD BE? The federal CIO said IT reform implementation would have strict oversight, but there are already rumblings about possible exceptions 0715fcw_021-023.indd 21 6/23/15 3:44 PM
June 30, 2015
July 30, 2015