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FCW : July 15, 2015
July 15, 2015 FCW.COM 23 the agencies, and we are not carving out the Department of Energy labs,” she said. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), one of the original sponsors of FITARA, said agency leaders are turning to Congress for exceptions from the law, and he urged the administration to continue to resist the pressure to exempt certain programs or agencies. “What’s happening is people who want carve-outs...seek legislative redress before we’ve even implement- ed the law...giving chutzpah a whole new meaning,” Connolly said. What success looks like In addition to CIO authority changes, FITARA covers risk management in IT investments, portfolio review, training of IT acquisition specialists, software licensing, strategic sourcing and the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative. That array of policy changes codi- fies existing Obama administration IT policy, but it could obscure what FITA- RA is supposed to do, which is to give more insight into IT projects to avoid failures on the scale of HealthCare.gov. For Scott, success is about speed. “To me, it’s faster delivery,” he said. “It’s really speed, it’s efficiency of our [spending], projects that are on time and on budget, and meeting the mission that they were designed for. They’re secure. [And] we have modern infrastructure that those things run on. If we did those things, then I think we would declare this a success.” Rung had her own measurement. “For me, success is [when] IT acqui- sition comes off the high-risk list” of federal programs maintained by the Government Accountability Office, she said. n ligence analyst at Sandia National Laboratories. According to his DOE bio, Johnson has expertise in, among other things, computer architecture and nuclear weapons complex modeling. Lydia Dennett, an investigator at the Project on Government Over- sight, wrote in a blog post that “one of the main intents of the FITARA is to ensure that the agency CIO position has the authority and pres- tige to attract applicants with the required subject-matter expertise.... Exempting the national labs from the law would only serve to contin- ue the disconnect between agency leadership and IT programs as well as to make the Energy Depart- ment’s CIO position unattractive to talented individuals.” POGO officials believe some of the pressure to exempt the labs is coming from contractors and the supercomputing industry. “There has been a long-standing tradition for contractors running the labs to be averse to any kind of over- sight, particularly this sort of added look at how they’re spending their money,” Dennett told FCW. Alexander’s office and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory did not respond to FCW’s request for com- ment, and DOE officials declined to comment on pending legislation. Dave Powner, director of IT man- agement issues at the Government Accountability Office, questioned whether the time was right for carve-outs, given that the law had yet to be put into practice. “Let’s see how FITARA gets implemented and not make any major moves prematurely,” he told FCW. “That would be our preference.” The Udall spokesperson, mean- while, noted that it is still early in the fiscal 2016 appropriations pro- cess. “A lot of this is going to get worked out between now and the time this moves,” the spokesperson said, adding that Udall and his staff hope the matter will be resolved administratively in a way that is satisfactory to OMB, congressional backers of FITARA and the national labs without the need for further legislation. — Adam Mazmanian COMMONS.WIKIMEDIA.ORG Oak Ridge National Laboratory 0715fcw_021-023.indd 23 6/23/15 4:22 PM
June 30, 2015
July 30, 2015