House Oversight Sets Dec. 12 Hearing for FITARA Scorecard 7.0

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has scheduled a Dec. 12 hearing for two of its subcommittees to examine version 7.0 of the FITARA (Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act) Scorecard report.

The hearing, set for 10 a.m. in room 2154 of the Rayburn House Office Building, will be conducted by the subcommittees on Information Technology and Government Operations.

The new 7.0 Scorecard is expected to be released in advance of the hearing, but the exact time and date of the release remains unclear.  The 6.0 version of the Scorecard released in May became public the day before the scheduled subcommittee hearing to discuss the report.

The FITARA Scorecard is issued twice a year by the full committee and grades how well Federal agencies are implementing FITARA, the MEGABYTE (Making Electronic Government Accountable by Yielding Tangible Efficiencies) Act of 2016, and the MGT (Modernizing Government Technology) Act.

The previous FITARA Scorecard issued in May provided little positive to write home about for many agencies. Of the 24 agencies rated, 11 saw their grades decline from the November 2017 measurement, seven received the same score, and six received higher scores.

Following the release of the 6.0 Scorecard in May, two lawmakers influential in Federal IT issues commented that better grades for many agencies should be relatively simple to achieve.

Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., ranking member of the Government Operations subcommittee, said in May that the committee had identified “low-hanging fruit” for agencies to improve their grades.

“If all agencies do the basic tasks of: one, ensuring that the CIO reports to the head of the agency as outlined in FITARA; two, establish a working capital fund pursuant to the MGT Act; and three, create a software license inventory as required by the MEGABYTE Act, the grades for today’s hearing would change. There would be five A’s, 14 B’s, 5 C’s, and no D’s or F’s.”

Helping to push many grades lower in the 6.0 Scorecard was agency CIO reporting status;  agencies were given an automatic letter-grade deduction if their CIO did not report to the secretary or deputy secretary of the agency, which hurt nine of the 24 graded agencies.

“I hope that with the issuance of the recent executive order on CIOs which requires agencies to make this simple organizational change, all agencies will now move quickly to implement the necessary change so that their CIOs report to the head of the agency,” Connolly said in May.

Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, chairman of the IT subcommittee, agreed, saying, “We haven’t heard any reason, any reasonable reason, why this shouldn’t be changed immediately.”

Recent