Clinger-Cohen: Time for an update?

Many people believe the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996 gives agency CIOs sufficient authority, but at least one prominent Senate lawmaker isn’t so sure.

More on reinventing CIOs

Recharging the CIO

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) recently asked the Government Accountability Office to assess the statutory framework for CIOs and evaluate potential modifications to enhance the authority of CIOs.

“In 2011, it will be 15 years since the enactment of Clinger-Cohen and more than six years since GAO completed work on this topic; however, challenges in implementing and overseeing major information technology investments still persist,” Collins wrote in a Feb. 12 letter to GAO. “Specifically, the position of CIOs is not equally respected across the federal government and according to a recent survey, CIOs still lack adequate resources to achieve technology efficiencies and improve organization performance.”

Collins, ranking member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said in the letter that she is interested in learning about proposed legislative improvements to the existing law.

Per Collins’ request, GAO has begun a study to examine the roles and responsibilities of agency CIOs, said Charles Young, GAO’s managing director of public affairs.

Young said GAO is obtaining information from CIOs at 30 federal agencies and will hold a panel discussion with former CIOs March 22. The former CIOs will be asked to share their views regarding the statutory responsibilities given to federal CIOs, lessons learned in managing IT, and areas in which changes might be made to enhance CIOs’ authority and effectiveness.

A spokesperson for Collins said GAO is expected to report on its findings sometime this summer, and those findings will determine the next steps, such as a hearing or legislation.

The idea of updating Clinger-Cohen isn’t new, but it didn’t have much momentum without a champion on Capitol Hill, observers say. Now that Collins is taking the lead on the issue, the debate about CIOs is far from finished.

About the Author

Alyah Khan is a staff writer covering IT policy.

FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.

Featured

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1986, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

  • Shutterstock image.

    A 'minibus' appropriations package could be in the cards

    A short-term funding bill is expected by Sept. 30 to keep the federal government operating through early December, but after that the options get more complicated.

  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco

    DOD launches new tech hub in Austin

    The DOD is opening a new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental office in Austin, Texas, while Congress debates legislation that could defund DIUx.

  • Shutterstock image.

    Merged IT modernization bill punts on funding

    A House panel approved a new IT modernization bill that appears poised to pass, but key funding questions are left for appropriators.

  • General Frost

    Army wants cyber capability everywhere

    The Army's cyber director said cyber, electronic warfare and information operations must be integrated into warfighters' doctrine and training.

  • Rising Star 2013

    Meet the 2016 Rising Stars

    FCW honors 30 early-career leaders in federal IT.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group