FITARA Goes to the Cloud, Grades Come Down to the Ground

The 17th edition of the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) scorecard featured a revamped list of measurements to illustrate federal agency progress against current modernization goals. This latest scorecard introduced two new categories - Cloud Computing and CIO Investment Evaluation - while dropping the measurement of compliance with data center modernization, something all agencies have completed.

This reshuffling of measurement criteria resulted in lower grades for 11 agencies. Twelve agencies saw their grades unchanged. The Department of Defense (DoD) was the sole group earning a higher grade, rising from a C to a B. These drops are not necessarily a concerning indicator, but rather a re-baselining of where agencies stand in terms of modern digital government goals.

New Focus on Cloud

While cloud computing is no longer a novel technology in government, its measurement as part of FITARA is. This latest scorecard looked at how agencies are meeting five requirements of the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) Federal Cloud Computing Strategy. The requirements being measured were:

  • Ensuring that the CIO oversees modernization
  • Agency cloud-related policies and guidance are iteratively improved
  • Service level agreements are in place
  • Service level agreement contracts are standardized
  • Visibility in high-value asset contracts is continuously ensured

DoD is the leader in the cloud area, receiving the only A. The Interior Department received a C, and the remaining agencies were given Ds and Fs based on current compliance with the named OMB requirements. As this is the first time these requirements have been called out, it is likely that the attention will spur some action for improved compliance before the next report.

Modernizing the Modernization Goal

The scorecard measurement for Modernizing Government Technology was updated for this reporting period. In line with the Modernizing Government Technology Act, each agency must have a dedicated funding stream for government IT that's controlled by the CIO and provides at least three years of flexible spending. This lack of dedicated funding has been highlighted as a roadblock to moving modernization projects forward.

GovEvents and GovWhitepapers have a host of resources to support agencies in rebuilding their FITARA grades.

  • Navigating Cloud Economics (February 26, 2024; webcast) - This webcast will examine how the federal government can leverage the full potential of cloud savings through the use of efficient strategies and contracting, including SLAs.
  • CyberScape Summit (March 10, 2024; Reston, VA) - The federal IT cyber community to tackle evolving cyber priorities, breaking down how movements in zero trust, edge computing, identity management and more are impacting agency strategies to modernize IT and implement future solutions.
  • Securing the Cloud (March 21, 2024; webcast) - This virtual workshop will review cloud computing security best practices to include review and updating of existing IT guidelines, controls, and processes, with the specific goal of protecting data and systems while also meeting regulatory obligations.
  • Pillars of Modernization (March 21, 2024; Washington, DC) - Government and industry leaders will share concrete strategies for tackling the complexity of IT modernization based on their own experiences at key federal agencies.
  • 5th Annual CIO Summit (April 17, 2024; location TBA) - The annual CIO Summit is an important gathering point for chief information officers from the U.S. government and industry providing a platform for CIOs and private-sector leaders to explore the latest modernization strategies, exchange insights on leveraging emerging technologies, and collaborate on innovative solutions to transform the multi-faceted public sector for the digital age.
  • Successfully Adopting a Multicloud Operating Model in Public Sector (white paper) - Many public sector organizations are struggling with multi-cloud complexity as they adopt cloud-based technologies at enterprise scale. This paper aims to close the gap in understanding multi cloud and multi-cloud operating models.
  • Cloud Modernization: From Fragmented Identity to a Unified Cloud (white paper) - Read highlights from a roundtable discussion with Federal IT experts to discuss ways agencies can modernize cloud operations and identity management without compromising security.

Find more government modernization resources on GovEvents and GovWhitePapers.

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