What is FITARA?
The Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) gives government agency CIOs greater authority in the information technology acquisition process. This includes increased responsibilities for planning, programming, budgeting, executing, reporting, managing, governing, and overseeing IT investments.
What does it mean for government agency CIOs?
CIOs will be empowered with new roles and responsibilities:
- They will need to work with other agency heads to understand the IT budget, the reasons for spending, and to determine which programs need additional IT resources
- They will annually review IT investments to reduce duplications and waste
- They will develop an acquisition program, incorporating a plan to purchase enterprise-wide contracts to lower acquisition and management costs for their agency
- They have the power to appoint any other component-level CIOs within the agency
How does SCRM play a role in FITARA?
“With great power comes great responsibility.”
It is now more important than ever to develop and implement Supply Chain Risk Management policies at the agency head level. As CIOs gain additional authority through FITARA, they have an obligation to understand SCRM, because it directly affects what IT products they acquire, how they acquire them, the vendors they use, and the eventual quality over the product lifecycle.
A CIO that applies effective SCRM policies shows that they are serious about reducing product vulnerabilities. These vulnerability reductions can be achieved down to the component level if a thorough SCRM process is utilized early on in the acquisition cycle. Interos Solution‘s proprietary model is one that achieves such results, because it looks at risk categories that span the breadth of a product or issue, from a company’s leadership, to its manufacturing, to its quality assurance methods, and more. This makes CIOs not only better decision makers when acquiring a product or service, but rewards them with better products and services in general.
Also significant in this time of limited federal resources, SCRM is one of the best ways for CIOs to reduce duplication, waste, and corruption in acquisitions and budgets. It shines a light on high risks purchases before any purchasing takes place.
Stopping counterfeit products is a great example of this. Counterfeits are a multi-billion dollar problem for government agencies and their IT departments. A 2011 study by the Department of Commerce on counterfeit electronics in the Defense Industrial Base highlights the severity. It reported that over a 4-year period from 2005 – 2008, of the 387 companies and organizations participating, 39% encountered counterfeit electronics in their operations, with the number of incidents increasing by 241% over that time, from 3,868 to 9.356. A strong SCRM policy will heavily mitigate this problem for both CIOs and their fellow department heads. By knowing where suppliers manufacture their products, who their subsidiary suppliers are, and by performing assessments to check for a range of risks and Foreign Ownership, Control, or Influence (FOCI), agencies can drastically improve the security of their supply chain and significantly reduce the likelihood of injecting counterfeit products within it. And again, this becomes especially important with the newfound acquisition authorities and responsibilities granted by FITARA.
CIOs and other Federal leaders now have the opportunity to take greater charge of their IT acquisition cycle. With SCRM, they have the opportunity to keep it secure as well.