In Testimony to U.S. House, SIIA Warns 18F is Lacking Transparency and Necessary Boundaries

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SIIA Communications Contact: Diane Pinto, 202.789.4480

 

In Testimony to U.S. House, SIIA Warns 18F is Lacking  Transparency and Necessary Boundaries

 

Washington, D.C. (June 10, 2016) – In testimony today before the Subcommittees of the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), the principal association representing the software and digital content industries, applaud the Obama Administration’s work on the Federal Government IT Framework but expressed significant concern about the transparency of the General Services Administration’s (GSA) 18F program and its effect on the competitive environment.

David LeDuc, SIIA Senior Director of Public Policy, says in his testimony, “SIIA supports the goals of 18F to help agencies buy, and share efficient and easy-to-use digital services…However, we also have several questions and concerns about 18F, such as 18F’s ‘build custom’ IT approach, their ability to operate outside of the traditional procurement process, the lack of transparency surrounding cost coverage and the recent reorganization of 18F within the Technology Transformation Service (TTS).”

LeDuc raises concerns around four specific areas:

1)     18F’s focus on “build custom” departs from the longstanding reliance on a “buy, not build” IT procurement policy, presenting both unnecessary competition with the private sector and the risk of a legacy of “government-off-the-shelf solutions.”

2)     18F has the ability to operate outside of the traditional procurement process, with a dual role to design agency procurements, and to compete for the opportunity to provide agency solutions, without sufficient transparency and oversight. 

3)     18F must be required to cover its costs in offering agencies IT services, but transparency is currently lacking in this area.

4)     The unanswered questions and lack of transparency are particularly concerning given the expansion and recent GSA reorganization of 18F.

LeDuc goes on to say, “The establishment of a federal digitization team is a good idea for agencies, but there is an open question about the boundaries and the necessary oversight and the ability to ensure that 18F does not in fact raise costs to the Government or result in products that lack sufficient support.”

SIIA told the committee that there should be three requirements for the 18F program:

  • Greater transparency on cost and process,
  • Adherence to the current “buy first” approach of commercial-off-the-shelf products, consistent with Federal government IT policy,
  • Requirement to function by the same rules as other IT vendors, needing to provide for the same level of scrutiny and completion on costs.

 

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About SIIA
SIIA is an umbrella association representing 800+ technology, data and media companies globally. Industry leaders work through SIIA’s divisions to address issues and challenges that impact their industry segments with the goal of driving innovation and growth for the industry and each member company. This is accomplished through in-person and online business development opportunities, peer networking, corporate education, intellectual property protection and government relations. For more information, visit siia.net.