FITARA should be expanded to Defense: report

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Wednesday, 12 April, 2017

FITARA should be expanded to Defense: report

The US Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) should be expanded to apply to the Defense Department if it is to fulfil its purpose of increasing efficiencies in IT acquisition and operations.

This was among the key findings of a forum convened by US Comptroller General Gene Dodaro, which involved technology experts and government officials discussing ways to strengthen the effectiveness of the Act.

The Defence Department currently accounts for about a third of the USA's US$90 billion ($120 billion) ICT budget, yet the department and its branches are not required to comply with FITARA.

Experts also agreed that FITARA represents the government's best chance to improve federal agencies' IT acquisitions and operations, but stressed that key reforms are needed.

As well as expanding the remit of FITARA, forum participants agreed on recommendations including improving congressional oversight into the implementation of the Act and establishing a strengthened role from the Office of Management and Budget.

Other recommendations centred on improving the authority of government CIOs, by evolving the role to enable greater change, implementing collaborative governance and seeking to attract more qualified CIOs by appealing to key missions.

Forum participants also recommended that government agencies develop a strategic approach for legacy system migration, including by migrating more services to the cloud, to help cut spending on maintaining legacy technology. Such expenses currently account for an estimated three-quarters of all technology spending.

Image courtesy of US Army Africa under CC

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