The House of Representatives on July 12 adopted Rep. Gerry Connolly’s, D-Va., amendment to extend certain provisions of the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act.

The FITARA Extension amendment, co-sponsored by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., continues three provisions that were set to expire over the past couple of years: Federal data center consolidation, transparency and risk management of major IT systems, and IT portfolio, program, and resource reviews.

“In working with the Government Accountability Office and the Office of Management and Budget on FITARA implementation, we have found that there are areas of FITARA that would benefit from an extension of their original sunset date,” Connolly said in a statement. “We are committed to the successful implementation and oversight of FITARA. Previous major IT reform efforts have fallen short of their potential because of a lack of congressional oversight. I will not let that happen with FITARA.”

Transparency and risk management refers to IT dashboards displaying information on IT investments and their associated risks that agencies are required to maintain. Furthermore, agencies must conduct annual IT investment portfolios to increase efficiency and eliminate waste. OMB is required to develop standardized performance metrics and report savings to Congress.

The Data Center Consolidation Initiative, another pillar of the FITARA scorecard, requires agencies to keep an inventory on their existing data centers and report their closures to OMB. Connolly’s amendment extends the DCCI from October 2018 to October 2020.

“Very simply, the Federal data center problem is bigger than we initially thought. In 2009, the government estimated it had roughly 1,100 data centers. In reality, by 2015 we found we had more than 11,700,” Connolly said. “We are potentially leaving money on the table when it comes to data center consolidation if we allow FITARA’s data center reporting and planning requirements to expire in 2018. We need to let agencies know that they are not going to be able to run out the clock on FITARA’s transparency and reporting requirements.”

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Eleanor Lamb
Eleanor Lamb
Eleanor Lamb is a Staff Reporter for MeriTalk covering Big Data, FITARA, Homeland Security, Education, Workforce Issues, and Civilian Agencies.