Making the Grade: All Agencies Receive a Passing Score on FITARA Scorecard

For the first time ever, every government agency received a passing score on the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) Scorecard. Now, this does not mean that everyone made the honor roll, rather the general GPA is around a C.

FITARA was enacted in 2014, and report cards come out twice a year to measure and track progress in meeting the modernization efforts outlined in the legislation. The scorecard has evolved over the years as deadlines have passed, and new modernization metrics have been implemented.

The coronavirus pandemic underscored the need for modernization. Agencies had to hustle to move processes fully online and make them accessible to a remote workforce and the public who could no longer visit government offices to conduct business. It reinforced the need for modernization to move from a wish list or "we'll get there" item to a critical need.

In this 10th report, The General Services Administration (GSA) received an A+ grade on the scorecard for the second time in a row. The Education Department dropped out of the A-range, falling to a B. They joined two other agencies in dropping scores, while seven agencies showed improved results, and 14 stayed the same. The majority of agencies passed in the C-range.

Agencies are graded in the following categories:

  • CIO authority enhancements
  • Transparency and risk management
  • Portfolio review
  • Data Center Optimization Initiative (DCOI)
  • Software licensing
  • Modernizing Government Technology (MGT) Act
  • Cybersecurity
  • CIO status (acting or permanent)
  • Whether the CIO reports to the agency head or deputy.

As in prior years, a key area of improvement for agencies remained "strengthening authority for CIOs." One-third of agencies have failed to ensure their chief information officers report directly to the head or deputy head of the agency. Changing the leadership structure within agencies in order to give CIOs actual decision-making power is one of FITARA's chief innovations.

For future scorecards, there is a discussion on adding a cyber-hygiene score related to FISMA as well as a look at the use of agile and moving funding from capital budgets to operations budgets.

To help stay on track and boost scores for the next scorecard, there are a number of events that may help.

  • DevOps Enterprise Summit (October 13-15, 2020; virtual) - Designed for the technology leaders of large, complex organizations implementing DevOps principles and practices, this event's programming emphasizes the evolving business, technical and architectural practices and the methods needed to successfully lead widespread change efforts in large organizations.
  • Reimagine Nation ELC 2020 (October 26-29, 2020; virtual) - With a conference theme of "Mission Resiliency: Technology, Culture, & Agility," this event brings together content across cybersecurity, emerging technologies, mission modernization, and lab-to-market.
  • Senior Government Executive Forum (November 5, 2020; virtual) - This event brings together senior and emerging government IT leaders with industry to examine innovative technologies, techniques, and acquisition practices used to create a secure, modern, and responsive enterprise. In each breakout room, a Senior Government Executive and Emerging Government Leader will be paired together for an insightful industry-moderated discussion. Each table will have focused conversation around one of these critical topic areas: Cybersecurity, Digital Transformation, Data and Analytics, and Enterprise Risk Management.
  • CDM Central: Accelerating the Digital Game Plan (December 3, 2020; virtual) -- CDM advancement continues to be a critical part of the cybersecurity playbook. But as hackers strategize fresh plays, cyber opponents are growing stronger in their attack methods. This event will explore how CDM can help agencies make the move from the bench to the starting line-up - from FY21 goals and updates on the current status of the program.
  • Data Cloud Summit (January 14, 2021; virtual) - Top leaders and decision-makers from the public-sector IT community will discuss the importance of developing a foundational enterprise data strategy and how that can spark digital transformation, powering new capabilities like machine learning and rapid analytics. These experts will also explore how the cloud can be used to manage data across the enterprise, best practices for keeping government data secure at scale, and ways to effectively process and analyze streaming data.

Let us know where you are getting information to improve your FITARA standings. Share your tips in the comments.

Be sure to check out GovEvents for a complete listing of events, webinars, and a library of on-demand events.

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