H.R. 1232: Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA)

H.R. 1232

Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA)

Date
February 25, 2014 (113th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Tuesday, February 25, 2014, the House will consider H.R. 1232, the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA), under suspension of the rules.  H.R. 1232 was introduced on March 18, 2013 by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and was referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which reported the bill by voice vote on March 20, 2013.

Bill Summary

H.R. 1232 reforms the procurement management process the federal government uses to purchase information technology (IT) products and services.  Specifically, H.R. 1232 requires one central Chief Information Officer (CIO) at each federal agency.  The bill increases the authority of CIOs at 17 major agencies[1] by 1) making them Presidential appointees; and 2) providing for them to report directly to their respective agency heads.  H.R. 1232 provides additional budget and personnel-related authority to CIOs at 24 major agencies,[2] authorizing them to participate in budget and hiring decisions related to IT programs and investments. 

H.R. 1232 designates the Chief Information Officers Council (the Council) as the lead interagency forum for improving coordination of practices related to the design, development, modernization, use, operation, sharing, performance, and review of federal government information resources investment.  H.R. 1232 requires the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to periodically review the Council’s effectiveness and report its findings to Congress. 

H.R. 1232 also codifies the definition of “Federal Chief Information Officer” (Federal CIO) to mean the Administrator of the Office of Electronic Government.  The bill requires the Federal CIO to develop and implement an initiative to optimize the usage and efficiency of federal data centers.  The bill requires each agency to track and report the costs and savings (both realized and projected) resulting from implementation of the initiative.  The information must be made public and the GAO must examine and verify the accuracy of the methods used to calculate savings. 

H.R. 1232 requires a government-wide inventory of IT assets and elimination or consolidation of duplicative federal government websites.  The bill also requires approval of potentially duplicative new government-wide contracts.  H.R. 1232 expresses the sense of Congress that transitioning to cloud computing offers significant potential benefits for federal IT projects.  The bill requires that the Council, in assessing cloud computing opportunities, create guidelines for adopting a standardized approach to security assessment and operational authorization for cloud products and services.

H.R. 1232 authorizes a pilot program to help agencies meet common IT requirements and promote shared services.  For purposes of the pilot program, H.R. 1232 establishes a Collaboration Center to promote coordinated program management practices for the acquisition of IT infrastructure and business applications used by various federal agencies.[3]  H.R. 1232 provides for designated centers of excellence in the federal government to promote expedient, best value procurements; to enable agencies to leverage acquisition expertise/resources they do not possess; and to aggregate demand.

H.R. 1232 requires the development of a plan to strengthen the IT acquisition workforce, and creates a specialized career path for IT program managers.  The bill increases the transparency of IT investment scorecards by requiring that 80% of government-wide IT spending be covered by the IT Dashboard.[4]  The bill requires the federal government to purchase IT products and services in an unbiased, technology-neutral manner, with the goal of attaining best long-term value.



[1] The 17 agencies include the following: Dept. of Agriculture, Dept. of Commerce, Dept. of Defense, Dept. of Education, Dept. of Energy, Dept. of Health and Human Services, Dept. of Homeland Security, Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, Dept. of the Interior, Dept. of Justice, Dept. of Labor, Dept. of State, Dept. of Transportation, Dept. of the Treasury, Dept. of Veterans Affairs, Environmental Protection Agency, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

[2] The 24 agencies include those listed FN 2, as well as the following: Agency for International Development, General Services Administration, National Science Foundation, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Office of Personnel Management, Small Business Administration, and Social Security Administration.

[3] No additional funds would be needed.  It would utilize the existing fees already collected for certain interagency contracts.  The use of the Collaboration Center is optional.

[4] “The IT Dashboard is a website enabling federal agencies, industry, the general public and other stakeholders to view details of federal information technology investments. The purpose of the Dashboard is to provide information on the effectiveness of government IT programs and to support decisions regarding the investment and management of resources. The Dashboard is now being used by the Administration and Congress to make budget and policy decisions.”  https://www.itdashboard.gov/

 

Background

The federal government spends approximately $80 billion annually on IT.  Yet, oversight by Congress, the GAO, and other entities reveals waste, duplication of IT operations by various federal agencies, challenges in developing accurate costs and savings of IT investments, and lack of cross-agency coordination.  H.R. 1232 addresses these issues by creating clear lines of responsibility and accountability over IT investment and management; creating a framework for cross-agency collaboration; and strengthening the IT acquisition workforce.

Cost

An updated CBO estimate was not available at the time of publication.

Additional Information

For more information, see the Section-by-Section Analysis provided by the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.