Representative Proposes Legislation to Streamline Federal IT Acquisitions

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In a move to help increase the pace and effectiveness of federal technology acquisition, Representative Darrell Issa (R-California) is proposing that Chief Information Officers within government agencies be allowed long-sought authority over their agencies’ technology budgets.

At a time we are facing record deficits and our national debt has exceeded [our gross domestic product], it has never been more important for government IT acquisition to maximize the American taxpayer’s return on investment, reduce operational risk and provide value to citizens,” Issa wrote. “Yet, because of the antiquated way the government defines its requirements and acquires IT, we are wasting billions of taxpayer dollars each year on failed programs.” (NextGov)

Beyond the cost reduction cloud computing is expected to bring to these agencies, the scandal of poor oversight has been creating headlines on a consistent basis, making improved visibility a priority when it comes to expense reports, inventory management and other areas in which taxpayer money has historically been abused. The Obama administration has been unfaltering in its demand that agencies seek out cloud-based alternatives for some services in an effort to ease stressed budgets and increase efficiency.

Issa’s plan will also centralize oversight of government IT contracts and expenditures, requiring CIOs to seek approval for IT acquisitions that exceed $500 million. Additionally, Issa proposes developing a system of best practices to help guide the agencies’ technology purchases in an effort to maximize consistency, uniformity and effectiveness.

Up until this proposed legislation, the Veterans Affairs Department was the only federal agency in which the CIO held such authority over the technology budget. Centralizing these technology experts under one umbrella gives each agency access to the expertise needed to guide them in more critical, complicated acquisitions.

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