Congress

Hurd promises more FITARA oversight

Will Hurd 

IT Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Will Hurd promised more FITARA oversight.

CIOs of federal agencies that fail to fully comply with the standards laid out in the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act can expect to be dragged into more "boring hearings," according to Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas).

Hurd, who chairs the IT Subcommittee of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said that the scores agencies receive on FITARA compliance often dictate CIO priorities.

"One of the concerns we've been hearing from them is that they thought they should be graded on the utilization of the space. And we said great; good idea, let's make that half the score! And the first time we did it, you know what happened, all the scores dropped because their utilization rates were terrible," Hurd said at a Sept. 29 event on federal cybersecurity hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

The data center provisions in the FITARA bill could get a boost from a bill introduced in the Senate Sept. 26. That bill, sponsored by Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.), would extend the scheduled 2018 sunset of the data center consolidation provisions by two years.

"We'll look at that issue [of data center consolidation] specifically if it drives good behavior," Hurd said. "I actually enjoy having boring hearings. Because if we have a boring hearing, that means whatever issue we're going to look at, they sort it out the night before." So you come in and say 'Why haven't you dealt with this issue?' 'Oh, congressman, we took care of that yesterday morning.' But it's fine, that's what oversight does."

Hurd also said that career officials who find themselves in acting CIO positions won't be exempt from oversight.

"So whether you have a acting or a permanent CIO to me it ultimately doesn't matter because we're going to continue to shine a light on this issue," Hurd said.

"Yes, it would be great to have some of these permanent CIOs but we have to deal with the realities on the ground," he said.

Hurd also looked forward to the passage of the Modernizing Government Technology Act as part of the coming defense bill, and indicated that agency use of revolving funds would be built into FITARA compliance.

"So we want to make sure that we're working with some agencies to ensure that they're taking advantage of this in year one. And the goal is to keep track of that on the FITARA scorecard," Hurd said.

About the Author

Lauren C. Williams is senior editor for FCW and Defense Systems, covering defense and cybersecurity.

Prior to joining FCW, Williams was the tech reporter for ThinkProgress, where she covered everything from internet culture to national security issues. In past positions, Williams covered health care, politics and crime for various publications, including The Seattle Times.

Williams graduated with a master's in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park and a bachelor's in dietetics from the University of Delaware. She can be contacted at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter @lalaurenista.

Click here for previous articles by Wiliams.


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