SIIA Says Fed IT Acquisition Reform is Moving in the Right Direction, But Concerns Remain

SIIA today applauded Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and the House Government Oversight & Reform Committee for including many of the organization’s recommendations in legislation to reform federal IT acquisition, but said further changes are still needed. Following the bill’s mark-up today, SIIA outlined several key areas that it believes must be addressed for the bill to have the intended positive impact on the federal IT marketplace.

Chairman Issa and his staff have clearly recognized that, more than 16 years after Clinger Cohen became law, federal IT acquisition reform is long overdue. We’ve been working closely with the Chairman and the Committee, and believe that the marked-up version of the legislation is much improved and headed in the right direction.

SIIA remains supportive of the legislation’s objectives, but we continue to have concerns with several specific provisions and the impact they will have on federal IT marketplace. Following today’s mark-up, we will continue to work with Chairman Issa and the committee in order to make improvements in four key areas. We remain very hopeful that, with careful consideration and deliberation, Congress will develop an effective solution to this important concern.

SIIA is seeking changes to the legislation in a number of areas, including:

* Removal of the provision that would create a standardized approach to security assessments for cloud products and services. This provision would essentially establish the FedRAMP process in statute and could conflict with FISMA requirements, creating confusion for cloud companies seeking to do business with the federal government.
* Revising the software licensing provisions, which currently fail to recognize the value of resellers, the varying types of user licenses, and the overall scope of software licensing in the federal government. The current provisions could potentially create additional barriers to entry for small and minority businesses.
* Revising the provision asking agencies to justify not using the Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative (FSSI) for any purchase of services and supplies offered under FSSI. The current provision appears to give an unfair preference for FSSI, and the vast majority of IT products and services purchased by the federal government are too complex to be effectively purchased using FSSI.
* Updating the section on website transparency to make open data the default for government and to embrace the use of open application program interfaces (APIs).

Read SIIA’s full comments.

Michael Hettinger is VP for the Public Sector Innovation Group (PSIG) at SIIA. Follow his PSIG tweets at @SIIAPSIG. Sign up for the Public Sector Innovation Roundup email newsletter for weekly updates.

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