White House budget director Jack Lew outlined four areas where chief information officers should take a lead role in their agencies, according to a memo. (Mandel Ngan / AFP via Getty Images)
The White House budget director, Jack Lew, directed agency leaders to ensure their chief information officers are responsible for "true portfolio management for all IT [information technology]" and not "just policymaking."
In a new memo, Lew outlined four areas where CIOs should have a lead role:
• Governance of agencies' IT portfolios.
• Commodity IT purchases, such as data centers, desktops, email and business systems.
• Management of large IT projects and programs.
• Information security programs.
"With responsibilities for these four areas, agency CIOs will be accountable for lowering operational costs, terminating and turning around troubled projects and delivering meaningful functionality at a faster rate while enhancing the security of information systems," Lew said.
In December, the administration released an IT reform agenda, outlining the changing role of the CIO. So far, White House efforts to get more flexibility in how IT funds are spent have achieved little success in Congress. More budget flexibility would allow agencies to better manage program funds and more easily pool their resources to purchase IT commodities in larger quantities to achieve deeper discounts, said outgoing federal CIO Vivek Kundra at an April hearing. Former Microsoft executive Steven VanRoekel replaced Kundra on Friday.
According to the memo, CIOs are also instructed to "show a preference for using shared services as a provider or a consumer," rather than launching independent services. In a meeting last week with reporters, VanRoekel said he will explore more options for shared services.
Other CIO responsibilities include training and evaluating IT program managers who oversee large investments and implementing an information security program across their agencies.
The CIO Council, a group of federal CIOs and deputy CIOs from 28 agencies, will be tasked with improving collaboration and reducing duplication across government.