GAO will study Clinger-Cohen compliance

GAO will study Clinger-Cohen compliance

One of the first things Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) have undertaken in their new Capitol Hill leadership roles is a review of agency progress in implementing laws related to IT.

Davis, chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, and Collins, who heads the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, this month asked the General Accounting Office to review how well agencies are carrying out IT management directives in such laws as the Clinger-Cohen Act and the E-Government Act of 2002.

GAO has not previously taken a comprehensive look at the implementation of IT laws, a Government Reform aide said, and it has been three years since anyone analyzed agency progress in implementing the Clinger-Cohen Act.

The staff of former Governmental Affairs chairman Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.) conducted a review in 2000.

“It is vital to understand the status of the federal government’s IT management practices, including those linking IT planning and investment decisions to program missions and goals,” Davis and Collins wrote to GAO.

The committee aide said the request did not arise from complaints or the lawmakers’ opinion that there is any inadequacy. Instead, it grew out of their belief that this is a good time for review because of the amount of money agencies are spending on IT and the technology advances of the past several years.

The request could be considered the beginning of the two committees’ oversight of IT procurement and management. Once they have the report, they could hold hearings or request more agency-specific GAO studies.

“We would expect GAO to take a broad look at how policies in the Clinger-Cohen Act affect other IT policies, and how those policies affect Clinger-Cohen implementation,” the aide said. “Davis and Collins thought it was a good time to do this, and it was something we could get started quickly.”

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