The federal government expects to buy some $82 billion in information technology this year alone, and agency chief information officers are key to keeping those outlays on the up and up. The problem? Many of them don’t actually have the power to do so.
“Do CIOs have the authority to go in — whether they have budget authority or not — to stop a project that’s not performing well?” David Powner, the Government Accountability Office’s director of IT management issues, asked at a recent Senate hearing. “The answer to that is: Not consistently across the federal government.”
Powner’s observation was borne out by a panel of CIOs.
Department of Homeland Security CIO Luke McCormack said he has a limited version of that authority.
“It’s never a single-handed decision,” he said. “I have the authority to throw a technical flag down on any given IT project and say that we need to pause and reassess what we’re doing.”
Donna Seymour, the Office of Personnel Management’s CIO, doesn’t have the power. “Given the director’s authority over operating the entire agency, it’s something that takes some engagement across leadership,” she said.
CIO spending authority is even rarer. Powner cited PortfolioStat, an initiative requiring agencies to conduct an annual review of their IT portfolios to identify and eliminate wasteful spending.
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SOURCE: NextGov.com | Rebecca Carroll