OMB takes aim at redundant IT

Clinger-Cohen Act (see OMB authority: Sec. 5113)

The Office of Management and Budget is taking action to cut down on redundant information technology investments with plans to redeploy funding this year and head off funding requests in coming years, Norm Lorentz, OMB's chief technology officer, said June 25.

OMB has written "Clinger-Cohen letters" for projects under many of the 24 initiatives under the Bush administration's E-Government Strategy, Lorentz said. Those letters, for perhaps the first time on such a wide scale, exercise a section of the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996 that gives the White House the authority to shut down or redeploy funding for under-performing or redundant programs, he said.

Because the 24 initiatives are aimed at consolidating common IT investments across government, these letters are a necessary step, Lorentz said. Mark Forman, OMB's associate director for IT and e-government, and the affected deputy secretaries who make up the President's Management Council, should release the programs that are receiving the letters soon, he said.

For future investments, OMB plans to work with agencies to stop redundancy before it happens.

On July 18, OMB will release the final current version of the federal enterprise architecture business reference model. The model will be available on a Web site accessible only by agency personnel, although parts of it likely will be released over time for the public, Lorentz said.

OMB expects agencies to use the business reference model as the basis for planning their fiscal 2004 budget requests and their submissions under OMB Circular A-11, which sets the requirements for all investments. Officials should check their investment plans against the model before submitting requests to OMB, he said.

It is only the first of five reference models that will make up the entire federal enterprise architecture plan. The others — including models for performance, data, applications and technology — are at various points of development, and will be released in the coming months, he said.

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