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Thursday, July 07, 2011

Sen. Tom Carper: An IT champion by necessity

Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) wants the federal government to achieve better results for less money, and he believes IT is one way to reach that goal.


That belief has led Carper, Delaware’s senior senator, to spend the past few years championing IT-related issues on Capitol Hill, including cybersecurity and IT management reform.


IT might not be the juiciest area to oversee, but it speaks to Carper’s main objective: improving government performance and efficiency.

In April, Carper introduced legislation that would put elements of the administration’s IT management reform plan into law.


The bill would require agency CIOs and the Office of Management and Budget to conduct systematic reviews of IT projects that are experiencing performance problems. It would also codify the federal IT Dashboard and increase congressional oversight of IT.

Carper proposed the bill — called the Information Technology Investment Management Act of 2011 (S. 801) — in response to a series of hearings he has held in the past three years to examine federal agencies’ management of costly high-risk IT projects.

Carper, chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee’s Federal Financial Management, Government Information, Federal Services and International Security Subcommittee, introduced the new bill the same day his subcommittee held a hearing on the progress of IT reform. Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) and fellow IT champions Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) co-sponsored the bill.


Carper said he proposed the legislation to make sure programs in place now will continue beyond the tenure of Kundra (who announced his resignation in June) and the current administration.

Carper said the bill includes baseline cost, schedule and performance overruns that would trigger reviews by agency CIOs or the federal CIO. The metrics would give executive branch officials insight into whether they should take dramatic action and perhaps pull the plug on a failing project, he added.

-Alyah Khan, FCW.com
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