ITAA sets federal priorities for 2001

The Information Technology Association of America is setting itself up as a watchdog for the technology and contracting advances that were made over the past eight years.

ITAA has set its priorities for its dealings with the federal government in 2001. In addition to changing acquisition regulations and encouraging Congress to support agency information technology initiatives, ITAA seeks to guard hard-won turf.

"We want to ensure that the achievements in productivity and streamlining that we have achieved through acquisition reform initiatives don't get mistakenly or intentionally rolled back," Bruce Leinster, chairman of the ITAA procurement policy committee, said Thursday at a luncheon of the Association for Federal Information Resources Management.

In regard to regulation and legislation, ITAA's concerns revolve around public/private competition and better enabling agencies to access the products and services available from industry.

This includes encouraging the Office of Federal Procurement Policy to use its authority to waive statutes that hinder acquisition of commercial products and services, Leinster said.

ITAA also is concerned that "overzealous legislators" may turn back some acquisition reforms because of reported abuses at agencies, especially when it comes to competition on contracts. "To the extent that abuses are identified, we are going to encourage Congress to resist legislation and rather focus on education and enforcing current regulations," Leinster said.

ITAA also will promote the adoption of electronic business practices like those being used in the private sector and many state and local governments. Prime examples are enterprisewide systems for functions such as financial management and human resources.

Also, the organization will advocate the creation of a federal chief information officer or chief technology officer position. Although debate has focused on where to place the position, ITAA is more interested in ensuring the position has the authority to develop and fund cross-agency pilots, Leinster said.

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