Two subcommittees will share focus on federal IT issues
The House Government Reform Committee's decision to split oversight of agencies' technology, procurement and management needs between two subcommittees should benefit agencies by sharpening the focus on areas that have long needed attention, officials said.
In the last session of Congress, the Government Management, Information and Technology subcommittee oversaw federal issues ranging from the Government Performance and Results Act to the Year 2000 problem. Then-Chairman Rep. Stephen Horn (R-Calif.) became best known for his Y2K report cards, and in 2000 he continued his work by grading agencies on their information security practices.
That subcommittee has been split into two — one for Technology and Procurement Policy, and one for Government Efficiency, Financial Management and Intergovernmental Relations. Horn is chairman of the latter panel, while Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.), a former member of the original subcommittee, leads the Technology and Procurement Policy subcommittee.
Davis will focus on two issues that have gained attention from Congress, auditors and the vendor community: the effectiveness and fairness of procurement reform and whether outsourcing and privatization are succeeding. That focus will include a "thorough examination" of federal information technology management and a review of state and local models that could improve the IT acquisition process, said David Marin, a spokesman for Davis.
"Davis is excited about what he sees as an excellent opportunity to make the federal government more efficient and user-friendly — in a nutshell, to bring it into the 21st century," Marin said.
Horn's subcommittee will focus less on overall IT management and more on the back-end systems, but he will be working closely with Davis, said Horn spokeswoman Bonnie Heald. Horn has been meeting with all his subcommittee members to determine the agenda beyond continuing his work on information security, Heald said.
Splitting into two panels will sharpen the focus on issues that have expanded since the original subcommittee formed in 1994, especially in procuring IT services and outsourcing, said Larry Allen, executive director of the Coalition for Government Procurement. Davis' background as former general counsel at Litton PRC Inc. will also help, he added.
"This is clearly a good perch for [Davis] to lend an experienced congressional ear to these issues. I think he'll be a good voice of reason, one that is needed," Allen said.
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