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Shaheen offers Senate version of bipartisan legislation to boost federal IT oversight, cut waste

(Washington, D.C.) – As problems with continue, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) is calling to modernize federal information technology (IT) infrastructure with an added level of accountability for federal IT projects.  Shaheen today introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would establish a clear line of responsibility, authority and accountability over IT investment and management decisions within each agency.  Shaheen’s amendment mirrors the bipartisan Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) that the House unanimously voted to include in its FY 2014 National Defense Authorization Bill earlier this year.

“The problems with the Affordable Care Act website highlight the need for a larger effort to upgrade our informational technology infrastructure,” said Senator Shaheen. “What we’re doing right now is outdated, expensive and inefficient.  We have to upgrade the way we do business, boost accountability and oversight, and put in place the right kind of federal IT infrastructure for the future, and we have to do it now.”

Shaheen’s amendment would represent the first major legislative update to federal IT management and acquisition policies in more than a decade.  With IT rapidly evolving, Shaheen’s plan would address the rapidly changing technology landscape by reforming the way the government buys, deploys and assigns responsibility for IT projects.

Specifically, the amendment would build on the framework of the 1996 Clinger-Cohen Act, which established Chief Information Office (CIO) at agencies, and make the CIOs of major federal agencies Presidential appointments subject to Senate confirmation. FITARA also incorporates best practices from the private sector to streamline the cumbersome IT acquisition process as well as establish stringent oversight systems to eliminate wasteful duplication and control federal IT costs.

The full text of the legislation is available here.