New Year’s Resolutions for Improving FITARA Grades

For the first time in the history of the House Oversight and Reform Committee’s FITARA Scorecard, three agencies received “A” grades and set the bar higher for the 24 CFO Act agencies going forward into 2020.

“We are very pleased that the FITARA scorecard reflects the great work and progress across Agencies,” Federal CIO Suzette Kent said in a prepared statement earlier this month. “It is thrilling to see more Agencies improve their scores and receive A’s overall,” she said.

How to Improve

But while the “A” grades make headline news, it’s also true that most of the agencies – 15 of the 24 – achieved “C” grades on the latest scorecard.

Here are three New Year resolutions that, if executed on, will help agencies improve their grades going forward:

  • Work to improve Data Center Optimization Initiative (DCOI) scores;
  • Work to improve Federal Information Security Modernization Act (FISMA) scores;
  • Work to improve Modernizing Government Technology (MGT) scores.

What Needs to be Done?

The inclusion of DCOI scores from FITARA Scorecard 8.0 to 9.0 helped boost overall scores. The seven agencies that received “A” or “B” grades on the Scorecard improved at least one letter grade on DCOI scores with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) seeing the largest bump between scorecards, from an “F” to a “B.” The Department of Education and General Services Administration (GSA) – both of which received “A+” grades overall – have maintained high DCOI scores through several scorecards.

In the Cyber score category, 18 of the CFO Act agencies scored a “C” grade or lower on the latest FITARA Scorecard, and the New Year’s resolution should be improving their FISMA scores. While an “A” grade for Cyber isn’t necessary to achieving an overall “A” grade on the scorecard, all three agencies with an overall “A” grade on the scorecard had at least a “C” in Cyber.

Lastly, working to improve MGT scores is a trend for the highest graded agencies that the others can look to as an example. All three agencies with an “A” overall FITARA grade had at least a “B” MGT score contrasted with 15 other agencies scoring a “C” or lower. For agencies like the VA and the National Science Foundation, improving from their “D” grades on MGT could be the difference between their “B+” FITARA scores on the 9.0 Scorecard, to an overall “A” next time around. While adding working capital funds has proved challenging, several agencies have added them through the fiscal year 2020 budget process.

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