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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Senate lawmakers to extend greater power to CIOs

Senate lawmakers will propose major changes to how federal chief information officers oversee IT investments, including giving them full budget authority and approval over all IT contracts.

In their version of the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA), Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), chairman and ranking member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, respectively, will offer an amendment in the nature of a substitute for the House's version of FITARA at a committee markup Wednesday.

In documents obtained by Federal News Radio, the Senate's draft version of FITARA would require "the director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to require in its annual IT capital planning guidance that the CIO of the agency (I) approve the agency's information technology budget request; (II) certify that IT investments are implementing incremental development as defined by OMB; and (III) work with the Chief Human Capital Officer to review all IT positions requested in the budget to ensure the needs of the agency are being met."

Additionally, the draft bill would give CIOs power to review and approve IT contracts or other agreements for technology products or services, and sanction any request to reprogram funds for IT.
The Senate's draft version, however, doesn't follow the House's lead in requiring only one person with the title CIO. But it does give the agency CIO the right to "approve the appointment of any other employee with the title of Chief Information Officer at the agency, or who functions in the capacity of Chief Information Offer, for any component organization within the agency."

The House passed its version of FITARA in May as part of the Defense Authorization bill.

-Jason Miller, FederalNewsRadio.com