Earlier this year, when federal agencies were ordered to create action plans in response to the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA), federal CIO Tony Scott gave the ones he’d seen a decent grade: B+. Three months later, officials have found that some agencies not only missed FITARA-related deadlines but also received grades of failing or barely passing.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) determined that none of the 24 agencies affected by FITARA met the deadline to make their action plans available to the public. Furthermore, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform played professor and gave the bulk of those 24 agencies a grade of D or lower on its first scorecard, FedScoop reports.
These grades, FCW says, were given in accordance with data the GAO requested. In addition, grades were given based on how agencies performed in the areas of risk assessment transparency, portfolio review savings, data center consolidation and incremental development. The biggest area of concern was data center consolidation, in which 14 of the 24 agencies were given F’s.
Still, the poor grades are not being viewed as the a complete disaster within the federal government. If the agencies are like college students, the assessments are like the midterm grades from the first semester of college — an adjustment period.
“We understand that this is the first interim report card, it’s not the be all, end all,” Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va. said, according to StateScoop. “The intent isn’t to punish or stigmatize. It is to exhort and urge agencies to seize opportunities and use the report card to better guide decision making.”
Insisting that the grades are not a “scarlet letter,” Connolly added that they’re representative of where the agencies are at this point. There’s still time to right the ship’s course. FITARA is the most sweeping, complex piece of federal IT reform seen in two decades, so the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform expects that agencies will need time to catch up.
When looking at the federal government’s future, FITARA is an immovable object — something agencies can’t get around. Getting up to speed won’t happen overnight, but it must happen.