Yesterday’s release of the FITARA Scorecard 5.0 did not look promising for Federal agencies. In today’s Oversight and Government Reform IT Subcommittee FITARA hearing, the committee shared their concerns and sought answers from agency officials testifying.

During his opening statement, Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas.) said he hopes to see the scorecard evolve beyond a FITARA implementation tool into a MGT digital hygiene score for each agency.

Cloud Computing Brainstorm 2017 - Congressman Gerry Connolly
At the hearing, Rep. Gerry Connolly expressed concerns with agencies’ progress in FITARA implementation. (Photo: MeriTalk)

“On the latest scorecard, only three agencies had letter grades that improved, while six saw their grades decrease, and fifteen stayed the same,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.). “Additionally, the Department of Treasury joined our repeat offender, the Department of Defense (DoD), in receiving a failing grade of F+.

Connolly is concerned enough with the results to call for congressional testimony from the failing agencies.

“I believe that agencies with failing grades should testify before Congress as to why they are still not adequately implementing FITARA, nearly three years after enactment,” Connolly argued. “If agencies with C’s and D’s are required to testify for subpar grades, then agencies with failing grades ought to testify as well, even if they have testified at a previous hearing.”

In terms of areas of concern, both committee members and witnesses testifying focused on data center optimization and accurate software license inventories.

“The Scorecard makes clear that agencies still have a long way to go to address the challenge of reducing the growing number of Federal data centers,” said Ranking Member Robin Kelly (D-Ill.). “The overall grades in [the software licensing] category indicate that agencies are struggling when it comes to the management of their software licenses.”

Dave Powner, director of IT management issues, GAO, testified that the majority of agencies are a long way away from recognizing significant data center optimization savings. Additionally, he said that while agencies are improving their software inventories, it’s happening slowly. Currently, he said, only seven agencies have complete inventories.

Along with Powner’s testimony, the hearing heard from the Department of Energy, USAID, and SBA. Each agency sent its CIO, Max Everett from Energy, Jay Mahanand from USAID, and Maria Roat from SBA. Additionally, agency CFOs and administrators were on hand.

Throughout the testimony, Rep. Hurd asked the same two questions of each agency. Does the CIO have 100 percent insight into their network at this point in time? How will the CFO assist the CIO in implementing the working capital funds that will come as a part of the MGT Act?

Interestingly, only one CIO could say with confidence that they had 100 percent insight into their network–Maria Roat.

“I do now, but I didn’t a year ago,” Roat said.

Mahanand didn’t want to commit to 100 percent insight and instead went with 99 percent. Everett said he did not have full insight into his network at this point in time.

In terms of the working capital funds, Rep. Hurd asked each CFO if they were ready and able to help their CIOs implement and use the funds by the end of the next calendar year. The CFOs seemed to be unprepared for this question and didn’t have an exact plan as to how they would implement the new working capital funds that would be created if MGT becomes law. However, all three CFOs affirmed that they would work with their CIOs to figure out the process and get the funds up and running.

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk's Assistant Copy & Production Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.