Oversight

FITARA grades continue their slide

shutterstock id ID: 136789151 By Leszek Glasner 

The closest thing to a federal IT report card was released by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The news was not good.

More agencies grades than ever dropped on the sixth Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act report card. This time, five agencies improved their scores, eight scores stayed flat, and 11 dropped. No agency received a grade in the A-range.

The Department of Transportation, which jumped from an F-plus to a C-plus, claimed the biggest improvement. The Departments of Energy, Health and Human Service, Labor and the National Science Foundation all improved by at least a full letter grade.

The category where agencies performed best was enhancements to agency CIO authority, in which 15 agencies received As, four received Bs and four -- Defense, Transportation, NASA and the Small Business Administration -- received Fs.

On the negative side of the ledger, 10 scores dropped by a full letter grade. Far and away, the category where agencies performed the worst was in software licensing -- 14 agencies received a failing grade.

Agencies did display some other improvements since the November 2017 scorecard. Now, 15 of 24 agencies' CIOs directly report to the secretary or deputy secretary level, compared to 12 last time.

And now just four agencies -- the Departments of Housing and Urban Development, State, Veterans Affairs and the Environmental Protection Agency -- still have acting CIOs, compared to six last time.

The sixth scorecard, which is set to be discussed in a May 23 House Oversight and Government Reform joint subcommittee hearing, unveiled some new tweaks to the grading rubric.

The first change is that the scorecard measures steps to fulfill the Modernizing Government Technology Act. On this, three agencies received a B grade, 12 received a C, six received a D and three failed.

The second change is that the scorecard now lowers the overall grades of agencies whose CIOs do not report to the head or deputy head of an agency. That particular CIO authority enhancement was included in recent executive order on government technology.

The scorecard now also previews, but does not take into account, how well agencies are doing on compliance with the Federal Information Security Management Act. Here, no agency did better than a C, and nine agencies failed.

About the Author

Chase Gunter is a staff writer covering civilian agencies, workforce issues, health IT, open data and innovation.

Prior to joining FCW, Gunter reported for the C-Ville Weekly in Charlottesville, Va., and served as a college sports beat writer for the South Boston (Va.) News and Record. He started at FCW as an editorial fellow before joining the team full-time as a reporter.

Gunter is a graduate of the University of Virginia, where his emphases were English, history and media studies.

Click here for previous articles by Gunter, or connect with him on Twitter: @WChaseGunter

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