OMB memo to clarify CIO responsibilities

In preparation for the upcoming presidential transition, the Office of Management and Budget will issue a memo next week outlining the responsibilities of federal chief information officers for information technology functions.


The memo will clarify a framework for information technology governance to ensure consistency in IT functions during the change of administrations, said Karen Evans, OMB administrator for e-government and information technology, speaking at a presentation sponsored by AFFIRM.

“What we wanted to do was to re-emphasize clearly that it is important that information technology be managed through the transition and be managed on an ongoing basis,” she said.

A governance framework provides consistency so agencies can detail strengths and weaknesses and significant issues as they prepare to hand off IT programs to the next administration.

After speaking with agency heads and CIOs, it became apparent to OMB that every department manages its information technology a little different, either in a decentralized or centralized model, or are moving toward a decentralized or centralized model, Evans said.

The policy memo, which the CIO Council executive committee drafted, provides clarification of the CIO’s information technology responsibilities, including acquisition and human capital aspects.

“It is built off the DHS policy memo on how to manage IT,” she said. Agencies already have the statute in the Clinger-Cohen Act and guidance directive in OMB Circular A-130 that describe and support IT governance.

The upcoming memo will direct agency heads to verify and to report to OMB that they have an IT governance framework in place, she said.

“There have been different degrees of how this has been done across the board," she said. "What this does is bring some consistency so that when the next administration looks at IT they’ll know how it’s being managed." The next administration can evaluate the framework for governance of information management.


About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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