FITARA and the Way Forward for DHS
The Federal Information Technology Reform Act (FITARA), which aims to improve the management and acquisition of Federal information technology (IT) assets, is quickly approaching its two-year anniversary this December. The November 2015 FITARA Implementation Scorecard demonstrates that FITARA should continue to generate new opportunities for change within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) moving forward.
Among the four core criteria used to evaluate agency performance, DHS is focusing on advancing the following two areas:
- Improve its “incremental development”, i.e., adopting best practices to accelerate IT delivery
- Increase savings as a result of increased IT portfolio reviews
DHS needs to accomplish two tasks quickly to satisfy incremental development criteria.
First, DHS needs all of its components to develop new software or services. As DHS shifts toward Agile, it should concentrate on the components where it can make significant advances quickly. For example, Citizen and Immigration Services has already emerged as an agency leader, implementing valuable Agile solutions through DHS’ EAGLE II contract vehicle.
Second, according to the November 2015 FITARA Implementation Scorecard, the planned and actual delivery of new or modified technical functionality for users should occur at least every six months. With this more robust timeframe, DHS can constantly and continuously enhance its IT modernization and securitization.
In addition to incremental development, facilitating the adoption of new and emerging technologies is key for DHS. In particular, enhancing the IT portfolio management process through category management and buying at the Department-level are critical for DHS to increase savings. By improving the focus on IT acquisition solutions, DHS can identify areas of waste and redundancy across the DHS IT portfolio and maximize its return on IT investments.
Ultimately, these changes will foster new technology innovations and lead to an improved outlook for DHS for IT service delivery. By eliminating spending on legacy IT systems, DHS can better position itself for investments in cloud-based technology. A streamlined IT portfolio can also lead to exciting new avenues for IT modernization within DHS during the next fiscal year.