Agencies have submitted action plans for implementing the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) and, while not perfect, the Office of Management and Budget's top IT official is generally pleased with the results.
"There's none that are perfect," Federal CIO Tony Scott said while speaking at the 930Gov conference on Aug. 26. "Overall, I'd give it a B-plus in terms of the work I've seen."
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The plans are meant to outline how agencies will comply with the most significant IT management reform since the Clinger-Cohen Act was enacted in 1996. Under the new law, department CIOs have been given greater authority over budgets and hiring of bureau and component agency CIOs, as well as a seat at the C-suite table, with a particular focus on strengthening relationships with agency CFOs.
The implementation plans were due to OMB on Aug. 15.
"I'm pretty pleased overall," Scott said. "One of the benefits of the pretty public work that we did in sharing where we were going with the FITARA guidance is that it's been out there a pretty long time — it didn't come as a surprise to anybody."
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OMB is currently reviewing all the plans and providing feedback to the agencies. That feedback will come in both formal and informal settings, Scott said.
Interestingly, "You can see every agency's personality show up in the plan they've submitted," he noted.
And OMB is also learning something from these interactions.
"We're seeing opportunities where our guidance could be clarified a little bit more," Scott said. "And we've seen some great examples of agencies really taking this on and being explicit about how they're changing their governance process and the role of the CIO in the agency."
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OMB will continue to work with agencies to refine their plans through to the end of the year.
"Some will get there sooner than others," Scott added. "Not all agencies are created equal."
Aaron Boyd is an awarding-winning journalist currently serving as editor of Federal Times — a Washington, D.C. institution covering federal workforce and contracting for more than 50 years — and Fifth Domain — a news and information hub focused on cybersecurity and cyberwar from a civilian, military and international perspective.