Unlike Clinger and Cohen, Connolly says he's here to stay

The authors of the last big federal IT reform law left Congress soon after enactment. Virginia Democrat Gerry Connolly says "we're going to continue to watch over" FITARA implementation.

Rep. Gerald Connolly

Virginia Democrat Gerry Connolly promises he will continue to "watch over" FITARA implementation.

Rep. Gerry Connolly, the Virginia Democrat who helped pass the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act, has tied the law’s long-term success to him staying in Congress to oversee it. Casting himself as here to stay, unlike the authors of the last big federal IT reform law, Connolly told a crowd of federal officials and contractors: “I assure you, we’re going to continue to watch over” FITARA’s implementation.

The Republican authors of the 1996 Clinger-Cohen Act (former Sen. William Cohen of Maine and former Rep. William Clinger of Pennsylvania) left Congress shortly after the law was enacted. For Connolly, that meant “there weren’t great stakeholders watching over” the law’s implementation. This time is different, he said.

At a June 30 event dedicated to FITARA implementation, Connolly praised the Office of Management and Budget’s implementation guidance for the law. OMB understands “that the purpose of this bill is not a whole bunch of new regulations or codifications to abide by,” but rather a framework for agencies to reap the benefits of IT, he said.

Connolly noted that FITARA vested more responsibility, and therefore accountability, in agency CIOs, but he argued – contrary to some -- that the IT struggles at the Office of Personnel Management exposed by recent breaches at the agency were the result of not spending enough money, and not necessarily poor management. “We can blame somebody, we can declare ‘off with her head,’ but it begs the underlying question of … have we made the recent investments, have we provided the resources to modernize and update OPM,” Connolly said, alluding to bipartisan calls for President Barack Obama to sack OPM Director Katherine Archuleta and CIO Donna Seymour. Archuleta has said she plans to submit a request to lawmakers for more funding for IT security by the end of the week.

Federal CIO Tony Scott, who spoke later at the conference hosted by the Association for Enterprise Information in Arlington, Va., issued a similar plea for clemency. “Part of this digitization and part of this reform that we’re going through … is cleaning up decades of neglect, omission, not seeing the issues, not funding things that need to be repaired,” Scott said, comparing layering security onto legacy IT systems to adding airbags to a 1965 Mustang.

Both Connolly and Scott sounded optimistic notes that FITARA could help improve the baseline level of federal civilian cybersecurity in the wake of the OPM hacks. The OMB guidance requires relevant agencies to have a baseline set of management roles for their IT officials in place by the end of the year.

While administration officials have yet to publicly accuse Chinese actors of the hack of the OPM personnel database, which exposed the personal information of 4.2 million current and former federal workers, Connolly minced no words. “This breach into the OPM database is part of a systematic, organized effort by the Chinese government, funded by the People’s Liberation Army with a special unit trained and equipped to in fact hack into Western assets, especially our government,” he said.

Asked by FCW after the event if the intruders who breached the OPM database had been evicted, Scott said there is no evidence to suggest they were still on the network, echoing similar assurances made by OPM that there was "no evidence" that security clearance background information had been exposed. But Scott was quick to add what he said was a principle of cybersecurity: Never assume an incident is over.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.