Aug 19 2015

Survey: Feds Strongly Support FITARA

84 percent of respondents think the bill will have a positive impact on federal technology acquisition.

Federal employees don’t like FITARA; they love it.

According to a new study from MeriTalk, a public-private partnership that aims to improve government IT outcomes, 84 percent of surveyed federal IT executives believe that the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) will improve efficiency in government IT.

“The positive energy surrounding FITARA and the attention being paid to fed IT have created the perfect environment to strengthen CIO authorities across the federal government,” Dave Powner, director of information technology management issues at the Government Accountability Office, said in a statement.

Passed as part of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2015, FITARA aims to empower agency CIOs to reduce waste in federal technology spending, in part by giving them budget authority over technology in their agency.

Meritalk’s study “FITARA From the Frontlines” surveyed 133 federal IT managers in June.

The act is the first major law aimed at federal technology acquisition since the Clinger-Cohen Act in 1996, which established the role of federal CIOs. According to MeriTalk’s survey, 93 percent of respondents believe that FITARA will be equally or more successful than Clinger-Cohen. Feds also estimate that FITARA could yield up to $12 billion in savings from less wasteful spending.

“Eighty-four percent FITARA approval rating is impressive,” Richard Spires, CEO at Resilient Network Systems and former CIO at the Homeland Security Department, said in a statement. “Not only does the legislation empower CIOs, but it also creates a ripple effect across the rest of agencies’ IT: improving government effectiveness, streamlining IT processes and reducing waste.”

Feds believe that FITARA, which is currently being implemented through a series of deadlines and mandates from the Office of Management and Budget, will produce quick results: 20 percent said the legislation will have a positive impact on federal IT efficiency within six months; 8 percent, within seven to 12 months; and 30 percent, within the next two years.

The areas that FITARA will help most with, according to respondents, are reducing duplicative IT systems, improving investment decisions, improving communication and improving transparency.

Said federal CIO Tony Scott in a statement:

“FITARA provides agency CIOs with the authorities and visibility needed to manage IT across an agency, and by setting the expectation that these CIOs will work in partnership with other agency leaders. OMB’s FITARA guidance takes major steps toward ensuring agency CIOs have significant involvement in technology-related budget, procurement and workforce matters and provides details on how we will implement and provide further guidance on a number of OMB initiatives that were codified in FITARA.”

Andrea Izzotti

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