FEDweek IT

The Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act focuses heavily on the need to strengthen the federal IT acquisition workforce as a central part of improving acquisition outcomes and calls on OMB to come up with a five-year strategic plan to bolster these “cadres.”

OMB will have to annually report to Congress on its progress under the plan and GAO will track it as well. OMB further is required to submit to Congress plans for improving the management of IT programs and projects.

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Cash bonuses and other incentives could become available in recognition of high performance on the part of individuals or teams in acquiring information systems and IT. (OPM will be sending guidance on developing awards programs.)

The law pushes contracting personnel to purchase through enterprise-wide contracts that leverage buying power, and requires a business case and authorization before issuing “covered government-wide contracts” for over $10 million for IT or other goods or services. These are contracts that allow an indefinite number of orders to be placed and that are established by one executive agency for use by multiple others.

The law also codifies ongoing data center consolidation efforts (GAO recently said savings estimates beyond the $1 billion realized to date are likely understated) and calls for a government-wide software-purchasing program to be established to help agencies lower acquisition and management costs.