Congress

Senators press OMB for A-130 update

Senators Ron Johnson (R-Wisonsin) and Tom Carper (D-Delaware).

Sens. Ron Johnson (l) and Tom Carper, the leaders of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, are growing impatient with the pace of the scheduled updates to the A-130 circular, which governs federal information policy.

The chairman and ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee have pressed the Office of Management and Budget on when it will release an update to a key IT management policy for the executive branch.

In a letter to OMB Director Shaun Donovan, Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.) emphasized the importance of finishing the update to the policy, known as Circular A-130, in a timely manner. OMB has indicated it will release the final version of the policy this summer, but the senators want a specific release date and want OMB to brief their staffs on the document's status within a month.Circular A-130 is a broad framework for federal IT policy that includes topics such as open data, privacy and security, records management and acquisition. However, the document has not been updated in more than 15 years. Calls for revising Circular A-130 date back to at least 2005, the senators said, citing an FCW story.

Proposed changes take into account the centralized budget authorities under the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act, the new emphasis on shorter software development cycles and the push to upgrade legacy technology. The revised document also carves out areas of responsibility for OMB and the Department of Homeland Security in protecting federal networks .

The stale document "remains an obstacle to the full adoption of [a] modern, automated approach to cybersecurity across government," the senators wrote.

The circular currently requires agencies to audit the security controls for major applications at least every three years, the senators said, arguing that the paper-laden process is neither cost-effective nor in line with other federal policies.

"The A-130 has been around for a while and the world has changed during the times it's been around and we just want to make sure that OMB is mindful that time is passing," Carper told FCW. 

FCW staff writer Aisha Chowdhry contributed to this report.

About the Author

Sean Lyngaas is an FCW staff writer covering defense, cybersecurity and intelligence issues. Prior to joining FCW, he was a reporter and editor at Smart Grid Today, where he covered everything from cyber vulnerabilities in the U.S. electric grid to the national energy policies of Britain and Mexico. His reporting on a range of global issues has appeared in publications such as The Atlantic, The Economist, The Washington Diplomat and The Washington Post.

Lyngaas is an active member of the National Press Club, where he served as chairman of the Young Members Committee. He earned his M.A. in international affairs from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and his B.A. in public policy from Duke University.

Click here for previous articles by Lyngaas, or connect with him on Twitter: @snlyngaas.


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