The original purpose of FITARA and the biannual scorecard was to reduce IT waste and improve spending by implementing greater IT transparency at the agency level. This worked in FY2016 and FY2017 when we saw only a small increase (2.99%) and then decrease (-5.31%) in overall IT spending respectively, however, starting in FY2018 and beyond we have seen steady inclines in spending. During this time agencies have been consistently scoring higher on the cost-saving elements of the scorecard and lower in new legislation areas such as the Modernizing Government Technology Act (MGT) and Federal Information Security Modernization Act (FISMA) that have been incorporated into the matrix.

FITARA Scorecard and Agency Spending Represent Focus on Cloud and Cyber

While there is simply too little data to say with certainty that there is trend toward higher government spending, we have enough data points to speculate that agencies may be investing more over the next few years to improve their MGT and FISMA scores, which are significantly lower across all agencies than the other scorecard metrics. Here is a little background on these two legislations and how they relate to the FITARA Scorecard:

Modernizing Government Technology Act (MGT) was signed into law in December 2017 (FY2018) as an amendment to the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act. "It is designed to spur agency migration to the cloud, shutter legacy systems and allow for investments in new technologies," according to FedTech Magazine. This law requires agencies to reallocate their IT budgets in order to fund these modernization investments.

Federal Information Security Modernization Act (FISMA) was enacted in 2014, however, it's components were not added into the FITARA Scorecard until version 8.0, which was released in June 2019 (FY2019). FedTech describes it as "FISMA is intended to promote the use of automated security tools that are able to continuously monitor and diagnose the security posture of agencies and provide for improved oversight of their information security programs."

Cloud and Cyber Spending Since FY2017

Cloud spending for both civilian and defense agencies grew significantly by 9% and 30% respectively between FY2017 and FY2018. This trend continued between FY2018 and FY2019 with growth rates at around 20% and 25% for civilian and defense agencies, respectively. Cyber spending increased steadily by 6.7% year over year between FY2017 and FY2018 and then jumped 20% between FY2018 and FY2019. While numbers are still out for the growth of these markets between FY2019 and FY2020, it is likely they will again far exceed government growth averages overall.

Do Lower FITARA Scores and Increased Spending Predict a Future of Greater IT Investments To Improve Cloud and Cyber Infrastructures?

What can we make from this data? Here are our key takeaways:

  • CIOs are tasked with investing in cloud and cyber improvements and they are encouraged to reallocate their budgets to do so
  • MGT and FISMA scores are holding several agencies back from improving their overall scores
  • Cloud spending has already seen a sharp increase across both civilian and defense agencies and we expect cyber to follow a similar trend

As a cyber or cloud solution provider, this means your opportunity to get in front of an engaged CIO is much higher now than it was 3-4 years ago but that doesn't mean it will last forever. You should take this opportunity now at the beginning of FY2021 to schedule a demo of your solution and relate it back to how it can help one of the agencies listed below improve either the MGT or FISMA scores:

  • Department of Agriculture (USDA),
  • Department of Commerce,
  • Department of Defense (DOD),
  • Department of Education,
  • Department of Energy (DOE),
  • Department of Health and Human Services (HHS),
  • Department of Homeland Security (DHS),
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD),
  • Department of the Interior,
  • Department of Justice (DOJ),
  • Department of Labor,
  • Department of State,
  • Department of Transportation (DOT),
  • Department of the Treasury,
  • Department of Veterans Affairs (VA),
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA),
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA),
  • U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID),
  • General Services Administration (GSA),
  • National Science Foundation (NSF),
  • Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC),
  • Office of Personnel Management (OPM),
  • Small Business Administration (SBA),
  • Social Security Administration, and
  • military departments (Departments of the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force).

Will Lack Of CIO Oversight Hinder Critical Cyber and Cloud Spending?

One major potential hindrance to this assumption is the lack of CIO ownership of IT spending. While the primary objective of FITARA was to provide CIOs with oversight on agency IT spending, it is surprisingly still not the case for many agencies. It was recently reported that the VA CIO only received oversight in December 2019. Other agencies such as EPA, Homeland Security, DOE and DOT have also received failing scores for the authority category which gives reason to believe that full ownership over spending may still not be transferred. If this is the case, lobbying the office of the CIO may not produce the results needed to drive cyber and cloud advancements to meet the scorecard's requirements.

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