House lawmakers sending clear message with FITARA 11 scorecard

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Five agencies immediately felt the brunt of just how serious lawmakers want them to take the transition to the Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) contract.

The lack of progress dropped two agencies — the General Services Administration and the U.S. Agency for International Development — that previously received an “A” down by a whole letter grade, and three others also dropped from Bs to Cs on the 11th Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) scorecard. The House Oversight and Reform Committee released the latest version of the grades today.

The committee and the Government Accountability Office told agencies after the last hearing in July that they would add agency progress to transition to EIS as a category.

Along with GSA and United States Agency for International Development, the Commerce Department, the Social Security Administration and the Small Business Administration also saw whole letter grade drops, though at least with SSA their work under EIS seems not to have factored into their decline.

Five agencies — Commerce, the Department of Homeland Security, NASA, SBA and the Office of Personnel Management — received Fs on their EIS transition progress. GSA and the departments of State and Defense received D grades on EIS transition.

“Agencies continue to make progress in transitioning the legacy Networx contract to EIS. The EIS contract will allow federal agencies to advance the administration priority of IT modernization. OMB is committed to working with agencies to help facilitate this transition,” said Basil Parker, Federal chief information officer, in a statement Federal News Network. “We look forward to working with Congress to refine the methodology for measuring agency progress, and helping agencies achieve meaningful outcomes under the umbrella of FITARA.”

No matter, the committee and GAO have put agencies on notice that the transition to new services under the EIS program is a priority. GAO began considering changes to the scorecard as far back as August 2019.

The most recent EIS transition data as of Oct. 31 from GSA shows every large agency but DoD and DHS have received approval for all of their solicitations. GSA said industry has bid on or are bidding on 113 out of 148 expected solicitations from large and medium agencies.

Source: GSA EIS transition update, Oct. 31, 2020.

“In the midst of a global pandemic, continued reliance on remote work, and an unprecedented and highly sophisticated cyber-attack by a foreign adversary—the importance of federal agencies’ effective use of IT is too great to ignore,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), chairman of the Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Government Operations and co-author of FITARA, in a statement. “This subcommittee will not waiver in its continued dedication to the improvement of federal IT acquisition and management. FITARA remains an effective tool at catalyzing IT advancement across the enterprise of the federal government. Let’s ensure we use it to continue to raise the bar.”

Overall, no agency earned an “A” in this most recent scorecard. The committee and GAO handed out 10 Bs and 14 Cs, and not Ds or Fs.

Source: House Oversight and Reform Committee.

“Agencies’ information technology systems need to meet modern day challenges, steward taxpayer dollars, and ensure the success of their critical mission,” said subcommittee ranking member Joy Hice (R-Ga.) in a statement. “I’ve always been focused on making sure FITARA improves the rate at which federal IT projects are delivered on time and on budget. I look forward to working with chairman Connolly to also capture how well these projects improve the taxpayer’s experience when engaging with agencies. In light of the recent cyberattack against several U.S. departments and agencies, it’s also imperative to reflect on their state of cyber readiness.”

GSA expects EIS to pick up steam heading into fiscal 2021, with a major deadline of having at least 50% of agencies’ telecom inventories that must be off current contracts and moved to EIS by March 31.

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