Why Duplication In Federal IT Happens: ‘We Lack Transparency And Good Metrics’

Colby Hochmuth | FedScoop | June 11, 2013

Sen. Tom Coburn came out swinging at today’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing on reducing duplication and improving results in federal IT.

“If we’re not going to give CIOs the authority to do what they need to do, why bother even having CIOs?” asked the Oklahoma congressman, who serves as the committee’s minority ranking member.

The committee met June 11 to hear the testimony from several senior government officials, including Steven VanRoekel, U.S. chief information officer; Simon Szykman, Commerce Department CIO; Frank Baitman, Health and Human Services Department CIO; and David Powner, director of information technology management Issues at the Government Accountability Office.

According to Coburn, it’s the lack of accountability and consequences that allow for so much duplication in federal government. What also adds to the problem, the senator said, is that many CIOs don’t have authority to create transparency in their agencies.