If you are an information technology (IT) contractor, you may be interested in the upcoming changes to the fiscal year 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that are designed to improve the federal IT acquisition and management process. Many of these changes are taken from the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA), which aims to curb IT investment failures and excessive costs.

The key parts from the FITARA that are included in the FY 2015 NDAA can be found in sections 831 through 837 of the NDAA: 

  • Section 831 grants civilian agency CIOs additional budget and governance authority involving IT investments. 
  • Section 832 creates more transparency for new and current IT investments. CIOs will provide evaluations of each major IT investment to agency directors (who will then make that information available to the public). 
  • Section 833 implements annual reviews of IT investments in an effort to cut costs and duplication. 
  • Section 834 focuses on Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative (FDCCI) requirements. CIOs will submit annual reports to the Office of E-Government and Information Technology that provide a complete inventory of their data centers and strategies to achieve consolidation and optimization. The Comptroller General of the United States will review these reports for completeness and publish a report on each review.
  • Section 835 aims to strengthen timely and effective acquisition of IT for federal agencies by developing IT acquisition units that are made up of personnel who have specialized skills in IT acquisition, program management and other experience relevant to the agency’s IT acquisition needs.
  • Section 836 requires the government to justify purchases that do not follow the Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative.
  • Section 837 requires the government to develop a strategic sourcing initiative that will enhance government-wide acquisition, shared use, dissemination of software and compliance with end user license agreements. The initiative must allow for the purchase of a license agreement that can be used by all executive agencies as one user.

Excessive costs and program failures have been issues in large federal IT investments for a long time. Hopefully, the incorporation of these FITARA changes into the FY 2015 NDAA will be an effective first step toward tackling these issues.