Thompson/Lieberman Send Letters to 24 Agencies to Determine if They are Complying With Information Technology Law

(Washington, DC) — Senate Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Fred Thompson (R-TN) and Ranking Member Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) have sent individual letters to 24 federal agency heads asking them to detail their agency?s efforts to comply with the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996. The letters are in response to concerns about how agencies are designing and implementing processes for information technology capital planning, performance, acquisition, and management.

Agencies continue to suffer numerous information technology failures. For example, within the last year, the cost for an FBI fingerprint-matching system increased from $470 million to $640 million and the cost for the Justice Department?s National Crime Information Center more than doubled to $184 million. In 1996, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) abandoned its Tax Systems Modernization project after spending $3.3 billion.

The Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs played a large role in the passage of the Clinger-Cohen Act, which requires agencies to integrate their business, technical and budget processes and to report to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) information technology programs that have significantly deviated from their cost, performance and schedule goals.

“Each year we get reports from agencies, the media and GAO detailing how many federal information technology programs are mismanaged. We passed the Clinger-Cohen Act to remedy these problems and now we will be persistent in holding agency heads accountable for compliance with this law,” said Thompson.

“I look forward to learning for the first time how the Clinger-Cohen Act is really working,” Lieberman said. “Since Congress passed legislation four years ago to address some serious shortcomings, we need to follow-up to ensure those reforms are being implemented.”

As part of their oversight agenda, Senators Thompson and Lieberman developed a series of questions to ascertain the status of the Clinger-Cohen Act compliance throughout the Executive branch. The letters include questions on:

  • Effective use of government Chief Information Officers

  • Agency benefits from capital planning and investment control processes

  • Managing information technology for overall performance and results

  • Impact on business processes

  • Agency acquisition of information technology