Congress

Senators propose extension of FITARA data center initiative

astonished man in data center 

Legislation introduced in the Senate Sept. 26 would extend the data center consolidation provisions of the 2014 Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act by two years.

The bill was introduced by Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) with Sens. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) as cosponsors.

"The program has been effective, and the government should continue to support programs that modernize technology in the government," a Capitol Hill source told FCW.

Under FITARA, federal departments and agencies are required to provide quarterly progress reports on data center consolidation and optimization initiatives, along with updates on efforts to transition to the cloud and increase shared services.

A companion bill was introduced in the House in June by Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.). At the time, Connolly and fellow FITARA co-sponsor Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) had hoped to get the extension passed as an amendment to the latest National Defense Authorization Act, with the standalone legislation serving as a backup plan. That language never made it into the NDAA, and Connolly has been calling for an extension of the law's data center provisions in the past year.

The push to consolidate, shrink and maximize the efficiency of the federal government's sprawling data center network has received bipartisan support from Congress and the past two presidential administrations. However, implementation has at times been bumpy.

The Office of Management and Budget, which oversees the initiative, has had to repeatedly revise its estimates for the total number of data centers owned by the government over the past decade.

Furthermore, Connolly has in the past accused some departments and agencies of shirking their consolidation and reporting obligations in an attempt to "run out the clock" until the provisions expire in October 2018. If passed, the law would extend those provisions until 2020.

"There are sunset provisions to FITARA that are coming due next year, and we want to extend them so we don't lose momentum," Connolly told FCW.

FCW staff writer Chase Gunter contributed to this story.

About the Author

Derek B. Johnson is a staff writer at FCW, covering governmentwide IT policy, cybersecurity and a range of other federal technology issues.

Prior to joining FCW, Johnson was a freelance technology journalist. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, GoodCall News, Foreign Policy Journal, Washington Technology, Elevation DC, Connection Newspapers and The Maryland Gazette.

Johnson has a Bachelor's degree in journalism from Hofstra University and a Master's degree in public policy from George Mason University. He can be contacted at djohnson@fcw.com, or follow him on Twitter @derekdoestech.

Click here for previous articles by Johnson.


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