OMB set to release draft FITARA guidance this week

The implementation plan for the first major overhaul of federal technology laws in almost 20 years likely will see its first light of day this week.

The Office of Management and Budget announced Monday in the Federal Register that it would be releasing for public comment the draft guidance for the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) sometime this week.

“To implement the requirements of FITARA, combined with the need to update policy and guidance related to other modern IT practices, OMB is establishing this guidance,” the notice stated. “This guidance reflects input from a diverse group of stakeholders, including representatives from the Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Chief Human Capital Officer (CHCO), Chief Acquisition Officer (CAO), Assistant Secretaries for Management (ASAM), and Chief Operating Officers (COOs) communities.”

OMB says it will post the tentatively post the guidance on CIO.gov sometime this week.

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Federal Chief Information Officer Tony Scott said at an April 15 lunch sponsored by AFFIRM that OMB was going through agency comments and the draft guidance would be released in mid- May. He said the guidance would include a cover memo detailing FITARA’s impact on non- IT communities.

Sources who have seen the draft guidance say it’s 29 pages, including the cover memo. Sources say the memo will address each section of FITARA, and include as many as eight attachments detailing the steps agencies will have to take and deadlines they will have to meet.

Sources say among the biggest changes will be the establishment of a common set of minimum standards for CIO authorities, changes to the Federal Acquisition Regulations on what an IT project is and new project reporting requirements.

The cover memo is aimed at ensuring more complete buy-in from CFOs among others.

Congress passed FITARA as part of the 2015 National Defense Authorization bill and President Barack Obama signed the bill into law in December.

The provision in the NDAA bill calls for OMB to set new requirements across seven main areas, including enhancing CIO authorities, expanding and training of IT acquisition cadres, federal data center consolidation and improved transparency and risk management for IT projects.

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