FITARA: Don’t Throw the Baby Out with the Bathwater

Erica R. McCann photo

The Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) is one of House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa’s major pieces of legislation this year.  The bill is designed to bring greater efficiency and technology into the federal acquisition system, and he should be commended for taking on the daunting task of acquisition reform. Originally introduced earlier this year as a standalone bill, FITARA found its way into Division E of the House-passed version of the Fiscal Year 2014 (FY14) National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and is now awaiting conference with the Senate. But, what’s in it? And why is this piece of legislation so important to the IT industry?

FITARA is not a simple piece of legislation, but it does contain some rather simple provisions that would have an enormous, positive impact on how the government acquires IT.

Enhanced Authorities for the Civilian CIOs

One of the bill’s first provisions is designed to eliminate duplication and waste in the federal IT acquisition process by restoring the authorities of agency Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and consolidating the position at each agency. These changes would help to improve management of IT investment decisions, reduce redundancy, and drive efficiency across federal agencies.  In addition, this provision would clarify many of the intended authorities given to CIOs in the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996, including the budgetary powers necessary to manage complex, enterprise-wide IT systems across their agencies.

Multi-Year Revolving Funds for IT Investment

The current budget and appropriations cycle, which essentially requires agencies to plan for just one year at a time, does not allow the federal government to keep pace with innovation, but FITARA would allow for a more flexible funding process. When agency CIOs, program managers, and contract specialists have more time to make IT investments, they can better organize, allocate, and innovate around their IT programs.

Data Center Optimization

Data center optimization would be possible with the plans and metrics established in FITARA. The plans would drive efficiency and encourage the wider use of commercial data centers and commercial cloud services. The bill also would eliminate non-optimized data centers owned by the federal government, and subject to appropriations, use the savings achieved to promote other IT capabilities and services at the agencies.

Strengthening the IT Acquisition Workforce

Training and support for the federal workforce is the first step towards better IT buying. FITARA would promote the development of a career path for IT program management and create a five-year strategic plan for agencies to develop, strengthen, and solidify IT acquisition cadres. These specially trained individuals are expected to become experts in facilitating and performing complex IT acquisitions.

Enhanced Communication with Industry

This point could not be made clearer. It is imperative that government and industry work together during a procurement, especially when the government is acquiring something as complex as IT. FITARA would promote federal acquisition personnel to have responsible and constructive dialogues with industry.

Other sections (rather costly sections as projected by CBO) of FITARA are designed to address new mechanisms for IT acquisition, but industry believes that these provisions need more discussion and should be part of a broader dialogue on IT acquisition reform that is now getting underway within the Defense Department and among policymakers on Capitol Hill. That being said, Congress should move forward with those provisions of FITARA where there is industry consensus – together, they represent necessary steps toward a modern acquisition process.

We also welcome important federal acquisition reform measures that have been offered in the Senate as amendments to the Senate version of the FY 14 NDAA. Specifically, we commend Senators Tom Udall (D-NM) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) for their Federal Technology Savings, Accountability, and Transparency Act of amendment, which would enhance the authorities of the CIO; and Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Tom Coburn’s (R-OK) amendment on data center consolidation.  When the government improves the way it can acquire the latest technologies, we all win, and hopefully these amendments and the other provisions listed above will become law soon.

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  • Matahari Sun., December 22, 2:04 AM
    hedge can be implemented from the moemnt India decides to pursue an European fighter. There is no need to wait for the actual contract to be signed.Yes, there is a premium involved. My intention in pointing out the possibility of a hedge is to allay concerns regarding an appreciation of the Euro a few years from now.Let's not turn this page into a primer on currency hedging. Those interested can visit wikipedia. [url=]vbavvp[/url] [link=]wxexeun[/link]
  • Sue Sun., December 22, 1:44 AM
    Bhailog ,Pl clarify - we do not have sfeciufnt numbers in pilots to man our existing kites; who will man the dual seat MMRCA . Secondly until we get these fancyboys in our vayusena what will fill the dwindling numbers of Mig 21/s.Aur hamare basic trainers kahan hain ?Finally with Tejas evaporating by one more year/decade etc. why not adopt Hawk 2000 on compassionate grounds and get a few squadorns in as point defense fighters ?Thank You. [url=]hekgkvn[/url] [link=]hoarjuik[/link]
  • Riccardo Sat., December 21, 5:13 PM
    The exploitation of this sitaution demands a sense of realpolitik amongst the negotiators, the price has come down but say let them keep the original bid but get them to throw in a full tech transfer, makes sense. The rupee can squeeze more out of the euro zone countries now then ever before. But in all fairness a European deal will always be better then an american deal, to use the equipment alone we have to literally sacrifice operational sovereignty.
  • Sandra Fri., December 20, 7:15 PM
    All of the people above that peefrr the Typhoon to winn the MMRCA seem to have forgotten one crucial element of this competition.The IAF is looking for a MULTI-ROLE aircraft!That is an aircraft designed to be good at A2A combat & A2G missions.The Rafale was designed from the start to fulfil this role, which has bee proven in Lybia. It's more capable in ground attack and it is very good in A2A combat.The Typhoon was designed to be an Air Superiority fighter, a role in which it excels. But the IAF has already the SU-30 MKI, why buy another one?The Typhoon is NOT designed as a Multi-Role aircraft!Therefore, the Rafale is answers better the requirements of the IAF, France has proven to be a reliable partner, there is some commonality with Mirage2k, the electronics and armament are 1st class, there is a navalised version and it's very good at both tasks, A2A & A2G, plus full technology transfer!The Typhoon flies higher and faster but it can not match the manoeuvrability of SU-30 MKI, and it is not design as a ground attack aircraft.Veredict: winner is.......RAFALE! [url=]sublzkgai[/url] [link=]szebdogbfol[/link]
  • Ines Wed., December 18, 3:52 PM
    Please correct me if I have moenudsrstoid anything. What's meant by " deferred acquisition costs (DAC) are amortised over the life of the contract as a constant proportion of estimated gross profits (EGP) " ? EGP includes investment returns from insurance premiums received, including realised (but not unrealised) gains and losses. Suppose at the inception of a contract, Ping An has DAC of RMB20 relating to that contract and the present value, at inception, of EGP is RMB100. In other words, DAC is 20% of EGP at inception. Thus, for each RMB1 of realised gross profit, Ping An amortises DAC by RMB0.20. For example, if Ping An sells a financial asset and recognises a gain of RMB10, Ping An amortises DAC by RMB2 (20% of RMB10) and the amount amortised during the year will be dealt with in its P&L .However , if the asset hasn't been sold at year end , classified as "available for sale financial asset" - the RMB10 profit being unrealized at year end , the amount RMB2 (20% of RMB10) amortised will be debited to equity. When Ping An sells this financial asset next year, it makes no further adjustment to DAC, but transfers the amount of DAC previously amortised of RMB2 relating to that realised gain from equity to P&L.
  • Rosario Tue., December 17, 7:20 AM
    Оставьте свой комментарий Вы можете использовать следующие HTML тэги: Notify me of followup cnmteoms via e-mail
  • Lizemi Tue., December 17, 3:03 AM
    You get a lot of respect from me for writing these helpful arlcites.
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