February 11, 2015

Udall: Watchdog Report Shows Need to Redouble Commitment to Federal IT Reform

Implementing new IT reform law & strengthening congressional oversight will save billions of taxpayer dollars

WASHINGTON - Following the Government Accountability Office's move today to add IT acquisition to its biennial list of troubled "high-risk" programs, U.S. Senator Tom Udall urged the administration to swiftly implement recently passed legislation to modernize federal IT systems. Udall also called for stronger congressional oversight of federal IT programs and vowed to use his position on the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee to ensure taxpayer dollars are spent wisely.

"With an $80 billion yearly price tag and millions of users, federal IT services should be the best of the best. But instead of encouraging innovation, our outdated acquisition laws have too many government IT systems stuck in the age of the floppy disk and contribute to failures like the initial rollout of HealthCare.gov," Udall said. "The GAO's decision to add IT acquisition to its High-Risk List reinforces why I've been pushing for reform. The Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act, which I helped pass through Congress last December, will begin to improve federal IT management and save billions of taxpayer dollars — and successfully implementing it is the first step in making government IT more efficient."

The Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act, which passed as part of last year's National Defense Authorization Act, enhances agency chief information officers' (CIOs) authorities and strengthens key initiatives proposed in the administration's 25 Point Implementation Plan to Reform Federal Information Technology Management. Highlights include:

-More authority for CIOs over the budget, governance and personnel processes for agency IT investments.

-Increased transparency for IT investments and a requirement that agencies review troubled investments.

-Development of an enhanced government-wide software purchasing program that agencies may use to lower acquisition and management costs.

-Mandatory annual reviews all of agency IT investments to eliminate duplication and waste.

-Consolidates over 9,000 federal data centers.