FITARA Enhancement Act moves forward
Extensions for certain provisions of the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act moved closer to passage on July 19 with the House Oversight Committee's approval of the FITARA Enhancement Act of 2017. The bill would extend or eliminate the "sunset" dates for requirements on data center consolidation, on transparency and risk management of major IT investments and on PortfolioStat reviews of IT programs and resources.
Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), the bill's author, told FCW these extensions were urgently needed, as the scope of the federal IT challenge was significantly more serious than had been earlier understood. Progress on FITARA implementation "has been uneven," he said, pointing to the lack of such basic metrics as the number of federal data centers.
“What we thought we knew was wrong," Connolly said after his speech at the July 20 ACT-IAC Fraud and Abuse forum, noting that what initially appeared to be 1,100 government data centers turned out to be 11,700, which in turn requires more time for FITARA's data center consolidation provisions. "We don’t want to lose momentum," he said, "and we don’t want people to run out the clock, if that’s their game." FITARA, which became law in December 2014, includes December 2019 sunset provisions for a number of requirements.
Another source of lost time, Connolly said, is the Trump administration’s slow pace in making appointments. "We still don't have a CIO, we still don't have a CTO for the federal government," he noted.
Connolly was optimistic about getting his legislation passed. To ensure success, he told FCW, he had devised a “dual track” approach to the legislation. In addition to the stand-alone bill, Connolly and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) -- sponsor of the original FITARA legislation -- have tacked a bipartisan amendment onto the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act. This would ensure a backup, Connolly said, if one piece of legislation falls through.
The NDAA was approved by the full House on July 14 and is awaiting Senate action.