IT security problems cause two agencies to slip in PMA scorecard

Systems security concerns caused the Veterans Affairs Department’s and the Small Business Administration’s e-government initiatives to drop a grade each in the latest ratings on the President’s Management Agenda.

Clay Johnson, the Office of Management and Budget’s deputy director for management, said in a letter released today that these were two of four agencies that slipped up in the final grading for fiscal 2004.

Johnson said the Defense Department dropped a grade under the competitive sourcing initiative because it was not announcing competitions as planned, and the Office of Personnel Management fell to red under improved financial performance because its inspector general found new material weaknesses.

Each quarter, the administration gives agencies green, yellow or red scores for their efforts to meet the goals of the five agenda items.

Green means an agency has met all the standards for success, yellow means it has met some but not all and red means there are serious problems. OMB grades each agency on its overall status and on its progress toward implementing the agenda items.

While these four agencies tripped up under the latest scores, seven agencies improved, including the Social Security Administration, which earned a green under e-government.

In all, the administration handed out 39 green scores, 51 yellow and 40 red, compared with 35 greens, 55 yellows and 40 reds in the September evaluation.

Veterans’ and SBA’s slips under e-government mark the first time an agency has dropped a color grade since the September 2003 rating, four scorecards ago.

Still, under e-government, eight agencies received greens, 10 earned yellows and eight got reds, the same count as the last scorecard.

The Smithsonian Institution remains the only agency with red scores in every category, while SSA and the departments of Energy and Transportation are green in four of five categories.

Karen Evans, OMB’s administrator for e-government and IT, said in a letter released with the scorecard that the White House’s plans for e-government will continue along the same path of identifying “new opportunities for stronger management of federal government IT investments.”

In the letter, she said the human resources and financial management Lines of Business Consolidation initiatives will save $5 billion over the next 10 years because of the standardization of business processes and functions.

Agencies will begin selecting shared service providers in 2005 and shut down existing financial or human resources systems once migration to the shared service providers is complete.

OMB’s new chief architect, Richard Burk, by the end of the month will deliver a strategic plan for the Federal Enterprise Architecture. Burk also will lead OMB’s efforts to work more closely with agencies to help them improve their architectures and gain the benefits of using their EAs.

Evans also said 26 agencies—up from two last year—are using the P3P standard to provide a summary privacy notice accessible by public browsers. And 16 of 24 agencies reported 90 percent or more of their IT systems were certified and accredited as secure. Last year only 13 agencies said they had reached the 90 percent mark.

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