House bill would codify, elevate the federal CIO

Reps. Robin Kelly, D-Ill., and Will Hurd, R-Texas, are attempting to increase the status of the federal chief information officer by introducing a bill that would rename a White House office and formally require the CIO to lead governmentwide IT policy.

Under the Federal CIO Authorization Act of 2018, the White House Office of E-Government would be renamed as the Office of the Federal Chief Information Officer, while the federal CIO position itself would be elevated to a presidential appointee who directly reports to the Office of Management and Budget director.

In addition, the federal chief information security officer, a position created in 2016 to lead U.S. cybersecurity policy and report to the CIO, would be codified as a presidential appointee.

Under the bill, introduced Sept. 26, the federal CIO would be required to submit a proposal for consolidating and streamlining governmentwide IT to Congress.

Suzette Kent will serve as the first federal CIO under the Trump administration. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
White House nominates federal CIO

Suzette Kent has been tapped to take over a position that has heavy influence over the government's IT management policy and strategy.

“Reauthorizing and codifying the roles of the federal CIO and CISO will help streamline government IT processes and advance modernization efforts to bring government into the 21st century. I am proud to join Chairman Hurd in introducing this commonsense, bipartisan legislation to increase government effectiveness, efficiency and responsiveness,” said Kelly.

The federal CIO is already designated as the administrator of the Office of E-Government, but, according to Hurd, the new name is more than just a nominal change.

“No entity can operate securely and efficiently without a CIO in the year 2018, including the federal government,” said Hurd.

“This bill does more than just rename an office. It makes a clear statement that the federal CIO is in charge of coordinating IT policy across the government in order to ensure that our agencies are able to provide better, faster and more cost-efficient services for the American people.”

Both Congress and the White House have striven to elevate the authority of CIOs across the government in recent years.

The Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act biannually grades agencies on their consolidation and elevation of CIO authorities, and President Donald Trump signed an executive order May 15 that mandated agency CIO authorities.

According to a Sept. 24 House Oversight and Government Reform Committee memo, the Federal CIO Authorization Act of 2018 is scheduled for committee consideration at a Sept. 27 business meeting.

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