wfedstaff | April 17, 2015 6:18 pm
Federal technology and acquisition reform is back on the table, at least in the House.
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, introduced a new version of the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) as part of the House’s “Stop Government Abuse” week.
The House passed the act Tuesday afternoon.
“The legislation will streamline and strengthen the federal IT acquisition process and promote the adoption of best practices from the technology community,” Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) said in a press release.
This version of FITARA is mostly the same but includes two major changes.
The first, according to a committee spokeswoman and industry sources, will pilot an interagency collaboration center for three years to improve project management efforts.
The initial version of FITARA would have established the center permanently.
The goal of the center and the related Acquisition Centers of Excellence is for them to serve as a focal point for coordinated program management practices and to develop and maintain requirements for the acquisition of IT infrastructure and applications commonly used by agencies.
The second major change is around the different hiring processes the Defense Department and civilian agencies follow when hiring chief information officers.
The committee spokeswoman said beyond those two changes, the bill remains mostly the same around consolidating and expanding CIO authorities, closing data centers, addressing workforce challenges and improving oversight and management of technology.
“Provisions in the bill around CIO authorities or data center consolidation and some IT hiring provisions are areas that industry has come together on,” said Mike Hettinger, senior vice president for public sector at TechAmerica. “Other things in there, like IT collaboration center and acquisition centers of excellence, we still have some concerns about. The changes they’ve made in draft that I’ve seen have helped improve it.”
It’s unclear how much support there is for FITARA in the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Sens. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Jerry Moran (R- Kan.) introduced their version of FITARA in December, and it was referred to the committee.
Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) announced last week that starting Feb. 24, lawmakers would bring 12 bills aimed at holding agencies more accountable to the floor for debate and vote.
Cantor said in a statement part of the effort will be to “increase transparency and accountability in spending of taxpayer dollars and the impact of federal mandates.”
Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Connolly also are working on another IT reform bill. The Reforming Federal Procurement of IT (RFP-IT) Act would take another tact to improve federal IT acquisition.
Along with FITARA, the House plans to debate and vote on: