IT reform bill passes the House…again

After passage three months ago, the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act, or FITARA, passed the House again May 22 as an amendment to the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act. The House voted it through 326-98.

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., sponsored FITARA, with Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., as a co-sponsor.

Issa took to Twitter to recognize the passage of the act, saying it will streamline responsibility and centralize budget authority.

“Taxpayers deserve a better ROI [return on investment],” Issa tweeted. “By streamlining responsibility & centralizing budget authority, #FITARA goes a long way toward cutting waste.”


According to the text of the bill passed in February, FITARA modifies the current framework that governs the management of federal IT. The act would require a presidential appointment for chief information officers of all 15 cabinet-level departments, as well as NASA and the Environmental Protection Agency.

During the rollout last fall, President Barack Obama said federal IT procurement was an across-the-board problem.

“One of the things [the federal government] does not do well is information technology procurement,” Obama said. “This is kind of a systematic problem that we have across the board.”

The bill would require that CIOs report directly to the head of their agencies. The bill also designates the Chief Information Officer’s Council as the lead interagency forum to improve coordination among agencies and attempts to eliminate waste in IT by requiring the director of the Office of Management and Budget to conduct a governmentwide inventory of IT software assets.

Prior to its first passage, the bill was part of the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act, but was stripped from the final version.


Joining FITARA, the House also added a version of the DOTCOM Act as an amendment to the NDAA. That bill puts a roadblock in front of the president’s plan to give up some of the U.S.’s Internet oversight, requiring a report by the Government Accountability Office on the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers before the administration can relinquish any powers.

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