Procurement

Clock is running out on procurement reform

Trey Hodgkins

ITI's Trey Hodgkins said acquisition reform legislation "is at an impasse" on Capitol Hill.

The policy prescriptions in IT procurement reform legislation look promising, but the chances of Congress acting don't, according to a top executive at the Information Technology Industry Council.

The Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act "is at an impasse" on Capitol Hill, said Trey Hodgkins, senior vice president of ITI's Information Technology Alliance for Public Sector, during an Aug. 6 briefing for reporters.

Various versions of the legislation exist, but a concerted effort to bring them together looks less likely as the fall elections approach, he added. It's the same for other procurement reform measures, said Hodgkins and Erica McCann, manager of federal procurement at ITAPS.

"We support reform, but I'm not optimistic because of the timing," Hodgkins said. He and McCann noted that the level of activity on the issue is high among lawmakers, whose interest has increased since the debacle of the HealthCare.gov rollout last year.

McCann and Hodgkins also pointed to the uncertainty that a potential continuing resolution for federal agency funding would bring. Both said a CR was almost inevitable as Congress and the president once again spar over the details of appropriations bills.

Temporary funding that lasts only a few months makes it difficult for agencies to commit to IT spending.

Hodgkins said he is also concerned that even if some of the reform legislation is ultimately enacted, it would not adequately address the deep-seated, multifaceted problems that federal acquisition faces.

"I'm concerned if one bill is passed, everyone will declare victory and go home," he told FCW after the briefing.

He suggested there were some areas that might be addressed in the short term without legislation.

First among them is educating the procurement workforce to take full advantage of existing contracting vehicles and rules to better address fast-moving changes in IT acquisition. Another is to tap into the experience of senior or retired acquisition workers. A third would be for President Barack Obama to issue an executive order authorizing incentives for instituting program management efforts at agencies aimed at coordinating IT procurement and oversight.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a staff writer at FCW.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


The Fed 100

Save the date for 28th annual Federal 100 Awards Gala.

Featured

  • computer network

    How Einstein changes the way government does business

    The Department of Commerce is revising its confidentiality agreement for statistical data survey respondents to reflect the fact that the Department of Homeland Security could see some of that data if it is captured by the Einstein system.

  • Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Army photo by Monica King. Jan. 26, 2017.

    Mattis mulls consolidation in IT, cyber

    In a Feb. 17 memo, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told senior leadership to establish teams to look for duplication across the armed services in business operations, including in IT and cybersecurity.

  • Image from Shutterstock.com

    DHS vague on rules for election aid, say states

    State election officials had more questions than answers after a Department of Homeland Security presentation on the designation of election systems as critical U.S. infrastructure.

  • Org Chart Stock Art - Shutterstock

    How the hiring freeze targets millennials

    The government desperately needs younger talent to replace an aging workforce, and experts say that a freeze on hiring doesn't help.

  • Shutterstock image: healthcare digital interface.

    VA moves ahead with homegrown scheduling IT

    The Department of Veterans Affairs will test an internally developed scheduling module at primary care sites nationwide to see if it's ready to service the entire agency.

  • Shutterstock images (honglouwawa & 0beron): Bitcoin image overlay replaced with a dollar sign on a hardware circuit.

    MGT Act poised for a comeback

    After missing in the last Congress, drafters of a bill to encourage cloud adoption are looking for a new plan.

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