Legislation would tighten intell IT oversight

Project approval would require several steps, including proving return on investment

Congress is looking for more control and even pushing more internal oversight inside the intelligence community regarding spending on major IT projects, according to a new spending bill.

The bill's sponsors are telling program officers they would have to tell the director of national intelligence about their projects and get approval from that official before they could spend any money appropriated to the National Intelligence Program by the new fiscal 2011 Defense Department and Full-Year Continuing Resolution Act (H.R. 1473). (Read the bill.)

To get approval, though, program officers would have to go through several steps. They would have to show an oversight investment board that they considered re-engineering the current business systems and that they reviewed options other than building a new system. As the board reported to Congress, the investment board would need need to know the return on investment if money is spent on the project.

Going into more depth, the IT system would have to be compatible with the enterprisewide business architecture and have an information assurance strategy that is consistent with the intelligence community’s CIO's plan. Officers also would have to provide performance measures to verify that the IT system is working as planned.

As the intelligence director makes approvals of new IT systems, the director of the intelligence community’s Business Transformation Office would report to the congressional intelligence committees with the details on the approvals. The reports would certify to Congress that program officers had followed the steps of internal oversight.

The spending bill, which was introduced April 12 by House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), would fund the government through Sept. 30. The current continuing resolution funds federal agencies through April 15.

The bill would have to be passed by Congress and signed by the president before the procedures would take effect.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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