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Congress Should Formalize Federal Agency CIO Post, GAO Says

1 min read

The Government Accountability Office has urged Congress to codify the authorities and responsibilities of the federal chief information officer to drive consistency in the role’s impact on governmentwide information technology functions such as cybersecurity.

In a 77-page report, GSA noted that CIOs at the agency level and in the private sector are more unrestricted in their ability to exercise authority across key information technology management areas than the federal CIO position.

The government audit agency polled 71 industry people holding the role or its equivalent to compare their duties to their government counterparts’ responsibilities outlined in law and guidance set forth by the Office of Management and Budget.

GAO found that while the agency and private sector CIOs assume responsibility and accountability for cybersecurity and IT investments, the federal CIO can only assist or consult for these types of duties.

Federal CIOs are also not required to report to higher-ups compared to agency and private sector CIOs who report to designated heads to ensure effective implementation of IT management responsibilities.

The watchdog recommended OMB to prioritize the development of federal CIOs through collaborations with agency counterparts and other executives as well as initiatives focused on improving managerial skills.

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