Rep. Will Hurd introduced a bill Wednesday that would codify and elevate the authority of the U.S. federal CIO.
Hurd, R-Texas, with Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Ill., has sponsored the Federal CIO Authorization Act of 2018 to create a clearer reporting structure for federal IT officials, including the federal CIO and CISOs at agencies.
Specifically, the bill would formally reauthorize and rename the Office of Management and Budget’s Office of E-Government as the Office of the Federal Chief Information Officer. The bill would also make the federal CIO a presidential appointee who reports directly to the head of OMB. As it stands, the federal CIO reports to the deputy director of management at OMB.
“No entity can operate securely and efficiently without a CIO in the year 2018, including the federal government,” Hurd said in a statement. “This bill does more than just rename an office. It makes a clear statement that the Federal CIO is in charge of coordinating IT policy across the government in order to ensure that our agencies are able to provide better, faster and more cost-efficient services for the American people.”
Additionally, the bill calls to codify the federal CISO position to report directly to the federal CIO.
The bill would require the federal CIO, currently Suzette Kent, “to submit a proposal to Congress for consolidating and streamlining IT across federal agencies.”
The 2015 Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act gave greater authority to executive agency CIOs, requiring that they report directly to an agency secretary or deputy secretary. FITARA, however, didn’t address the authority of the federal CIO. The White House also issued an executive order in May to again elevate the role of agency CIOs.
Hurd and Kelly — the chairman and ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on IT respectively — also teamed up this week to issue a report on the need for more congressional and presidential support of artificial intelligence.
The bill comes at the tail end of the 115th Congress, giving Hurd and Kelly until the end of the year to pass the bill. Both are also up for re-election during the November 2018 congressional midterms.