The Situation Report: FITARA Scorecard Changes and IC ITE Funding Questions

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Change Is In The Air

It’s no secret that a lot of Federal chief information officers aren’t fans of the methodology behind the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) scorecard issued by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Critics have complained that the scoring methodology wasn’t always fair and reasonable.

Well, my remote listening post positioned outside the Rayburn House Office Building has picked up strong signals that changes to the FITARA scorecard are being crafted for the next session of Congress. Chatter indicates that in addition to making the scoring process more reasonable for agencies, lawmakers “want somebody to be accountable” for the progress (or lack thereof) of agencies. “Part of the changes involve adding responsibilities and making OMB responsible for oversight,” according to a source close to the discussions.

“The discussions are really focused on normalizing the scorecard so that there is more consistency across different agencies of different sizes, complexity, and culture,” another source told The Situation Report. The new scorecard will likely refine the metrics used to evaluate how agencies are reporting CIO authorities.

Could IC ITE Suffer Under Trump?

In August, then-presidential candidate Donald Trump openly expressed his distrust of the U.S. intelligence community. But now that he’s the president-elect and receiving classified intelligence briefings, will he come around to the reality that the IC is critical to his ability to make sound national security decisions?

Time will tell. But can the intelligence community’s central modernization effort—IC Information Technology Enterprise (IC ITE)—wait that long? My Capitol Hill sensor network has detected tremors stemming from potential funding shortfalls for the massive effort to deploy a common IC desktop, secure online collaboration tools, and secure common cloud architectures across the 17 major components of the U.S. intelligence community.

Because IC ITE is not a collection activity and is not owned by any one organization, “adequate funding may depend more on voluntary contributions—a coalition of the willing,” according to a recent study intercepted by The Situation Report. “As all resources are finite, money used for IC ITE means less money available for agency-specific priorities.”

More Questions For 18F

Imagine Federal CIO Tony Scott’s surprise when he heard that the U.S. Digital Service and the General Services Administration’s 18F were working on developing a single sign-on capability for the Centers For Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). My deep intercept station outside the New Executive Office Building picked up information on a conference call between an OMB emissary and representatives from CMS, USDS, and 18F.

“It would take $100 million. Why do you guys think you can do this?” is all my intercept station picked up before we lost the signal. Intelligence sources indicate 18F has yet to respond to the question.