Office of the Chief Information Officer

United States Department of Agriculture

The Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act

FITARA - What We Do

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released the memorandum Management and Oversight of Federal Information Technology (M-15-14) in December of 2014, which provides  guidelines on how Agencies should apply the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA), the most significant federal IT reform in the last two decades.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is taking an enterprise approach to implementing FITARA to drive effective business processes and decision-making to support the diverse mission of its Mission Areas.  

The M-15-14 standardizes the policies set forth in the legislation so they are “applied consistently governmentwide in a way that is both workable and effective”.  OMB wrote in the introduction.  The goal of FITARA is to eliminate duplication and waste in information technology acquisition for the federal government.  The goals of the legislation – reduction of duplicative systems, examine software licensing options, making the business case for acquisition, and the consolidation of data centers.

In November of 2017, the FITARA Enhancement Act of 2017 was signed by President Trump which repeals the original expiration date in 2018 and extended the FITARA date into 2020.  In addition, Executive Order (EO) 13833, Enhancing the Effectiveness of Agency Chief Information Officers, was signed by President Trump in May 2018 to implement successful IT management practices from the private sector, enabling Agencies to reduce costs, better protect sensitive data, and improve services offered to the public.  The purpose of EO 13833 is to provide the Agency’s Chief Information Officer (CIO) adequate visibility into, or control over IT resources by enhancing the effectiveness and placing the Agencies in a better position to modernize its IT systems, execute IT programs more efficiently, reduce cybersecurity risks, and serve the American people well.

USDA created a structured and optimistic strategy that leverages FITARA as an enabler--not only for regulatory compliance, but also as a means to improve internal communication, collaboration and service delivery by the Department’s nearly 100,000 employees based in more than 4,500 locations around the world.  The mission of the FITARA Team is to foster horizontal and vertical integration and ensure USDA IT leaders have the right authority and right information to effectively manage USDA’s information technology.

The USDA FITARA Concept Overview Diagram is a high-level graphical illustration of the key components, artifacts, events, and activities that are required to implement the provisions of FITARA. The diagram shows explicit linkages for OMB and internal USDA guidance.Download PDF file below to view more detail.

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