Agency CIOs Still Don’t Have Mandated Authorities

The onus to improve the use and management of technology in the federal government has been put squarely on the shoulders of agency chief information officers. However, across government, CIOs still don’t have the requisite authorities to lead IT transformation, according to a recent report from the Government Accountability Office.

Ask any federal IT expert—in the private sector, administration or Congress—what actions need to be taken to improve adoption and management of technology in government and empowering CIOs will top the list.

Legislators have been hitting this issue since 1996, with the passage of the Clinger-Cohen Act. Further, the need to give more authority to CIOs was a central point of the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act passed in 2014, which the Trump administration reinforced by executive order earlier this year.

While that drumbeat has been constant, the GAO report starkly showcases this issue with hard numbers.

While GAO gets granular with the metrics, overall, less than half of agencies have policies that address CIO leadership and authority. That was the best showing out of six functional areas, which include leadership, budgeting, information security, investment management, strategic planning and workforce.