IT & Networks

Grades plummet on latest government IT evaluation

The Government Accountability Office has released its latest evaluation of federal IT management and acquisition, and a majority of agencies saw their scores drop.

Limited improvements on established grading categories coupled with the addition of cybersecurity and working capital fund evaluations were among the struggles reflected on the sixth Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) scorecard.

Scorecard 6.0, released May 21, 2018, saw the inclusion of a category evaluating agencies’ efforts to develop working capital funds, which were established under the Modernizing Government Technology Act in December 2017. Only three agencies — the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Labor and Small Business Administration — managed to get above a C, and no agency scored an A in the category.

The new scorecard also included a preview of another category evaluating cybersecurity, which graded agencies on their Federal Information Security Management Act efforts without that grade impacting final agency scores. No agency achieved above a C in that category.

Dave Powner, Director IT Issues at US GAO sat down with Federal Times on Friday April 13, 2018. (Alan Lessig/Staff)
GAO’s IT expert talks what to expect on the next FITARA scorecard

Government Accountability Office Director of IT Management Issues Dave Powner outlined expectations and misconceptions of the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act scorecard, the defining evaluation of agency commitment to IT modernization.

Overall, only five agencies saw score improvements, eight stayed the same and 11 received lower scores than they had on the previous scorecard (released in November 2017).

Agencies earned the best scores in chief information officer authority enhancement, for which FITARA requires that agencies give CIOs full oversight of IT spend and enable that CIO to report directly to agency leadership.

Meanwhile, software licensing requirements continued to be the most challenging category for agencies, with 14 receiving an F in the subject.

The U.S. Agency for International Development, which managed to achieve the only A grade in past years, sank to a C- in the newest scorecard, likely due to a D the agency received on MGT adoption.

The Department of Defense continued its streak of poor grades, with its third overall F in a row.

The sixth iteration of the FITARA scorecard showed most agencies struggling under new requirements.
The sixth iteration of the FITARA scorecard showed most agencies struggling under new requirements.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold a hearing on the scorecard on May 23, 2018, with agency leadership from the Departments of Agriculture and Defense, as well as an official from the Government Accountability Office.

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