OMB expects skill gap plans

Agency officials should file plans by Aug. 3 for filling information technology skill gaps, federal technology officials said this week.

Office of Management and Budget officials will notify agencies of the required plans in a letter that should be sent later this week, said Karen Evans, OMB’s administrator for e-government and IT. She spoke during a panel discussion at the annual FOSE IT trade show.

The letter would have been sent earlier, but Evans was unexpectedly needed on overseas business earlier this month, said Ira Hobbs, the Treasury Department’s chief information agency, who was the other panel speaker.

A survey of IT workforce gaps found governmentwide skill deficiencies in project management, enterprise architecture and cybersecurity, Hobbs said.

Agency plans, which OMB and Office of Personnel Management officials will review, should address those three areas in addition to other agency-specific skill gaps, he added.

In other IT policy developments, officials at OMB and the President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency formed a joint working group to address agency implementation of the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA). Members of the working group may propose changes to agency FISMA evaluations, but they won’t duplicate the Government Accountability Office’s annual reviews, Evans said.

"We also don't want to make it so burdensome so that agencies [focus] on the reporting and not the risk management," she added.

OMB officials have not yet decided if they will change the requirements in fiscal 2007 for the Exhibit 300 business case justifications of agencies' major IT expenditures, Evans said in an interview.

An attempt last year by OMB officials to change Exhibit 300 requirements faced stiff resistance from agency CIOs and OMB budget examiners. OMB e-government officials usually try to send draft Exhibit 300 guidance to agency officials during April, Evans said.

Any possible changes this year would be to ensure that information garnered from Exhibit 300 analysis would be compatible from year to year, Evans said.

Among other proposed changes last year, officials at OMB’s e-government office sought to collect more enterprise architecture data to establish a baseline for measuring the value of enterprise architecture to agencies.

As a result of last year's resistance, officials will focus on using the federal enterprise architecture’s performance reference models to establish a baseline, Evans said.

About the Author

David Perera is a special contributor to Defense Systems.

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