Clinger Cohen Act of 1989 and the Law Governing IT Management Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Clinger-Cohen Act Defines Information Technology as:

Any equipment or interconnected system or subsystem of equipment, that is used in the automatic acquisition, storage, manipulation, management, movement, control, display, switching, interchange, transmission, or reception of data or information by the executive agency... And includes computers, ancillary equipment, software, firmware, support services, and related resources (U.S. Department of Justice)."

The Information Technology (IT) Management Reform Act (ITMRA) or in other words the Clinger-Cohen Act was originally formed in 1989 was amended and rectified on August 8, 1996. It put an end to the Brooks Act that canceled Section 111 of the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949. This Brooks Act made the General Services Administration (GSA) as the central authority for procurement process of automatic data processing (ADP) resources (U.S. Department of Justice).

While, on the other hand, the Federal Information Resources Management Regulation (FIRMR) was issued in order to execute the Brooks act and set up a process that needed Federal agencies to attain a Delegation of Procurement Authority (DPA) initially from GSA to obtain ADP and telecommunications (TC) resources. However, a main paradigm shift in the process for acquiring and managing IT is the passage of the Information Technology (IT) Management Reform Act (U.S. Department of Justice).

Clinger-Cohen Act & Law Governing IT Management

Originally the Information Technology Management Reform Act and the Federal Acquisition Reform Act formed in 1989 and reissued in the year 1996 with a new name as Clinger-Cohen Act (CCA). The objective of CCA is to influence performance-based and results-based management by means of an effective use of information technology (IT). It has moved its emphasis from IT purchase management to IT investment management, along with major accentuation on information resources management and IT management rather then on information management (U.S. Department of Commerce).

As this act cancelled the Brooks Act and returned IT procurement authority to managerial agencies. This step was taken into effect to abolish the Federal Information Resources Management Regulations and the General Services Board of Contract Appeals. The law governing the IT management gives responsibility (U.S. Department of Commerce):

To develop a process for examining, tracing, and assessing the threats and outcomes of major capital investments,

To direct executive agencies on creating a successful, proficient IT capital planning and investment review process, and To enforce responsibility by means of budget process (U.S. Department of Commerce).

The law further adds responsibility to executive agencies:

To establish an IT capital planning and investment review process,

To asses how well IT supports programs, utilization of performance measures should be implemented

To justify continuation of systems that move away from cost, schedule or performance objectives (U.S. Department of Commerce).

Clinger-Cohen has also established the responsibility for principles and rules for computer systems. For example, institutes like National Institute for Standards and Technology, Department of Commerce as well as it has reinforced the requirements of the Computer Security Act. It in addition has encouraged and provided modular contracting for IT systems and pilot IT acquisition programs.

Clinger-Cohen Act also gives the government information technology shop to be functioned just as a well-organized and cost-effective business would be operated. Also, planning, management of technology and acquisition should be regarded as a "capital investment " and at the same time as the law is complicated, all consumers of hardware as well as software in the Department should be well aware of the Chief Information Officer's leadership in implementing this rule.

However, the law governing IT management highlights an integrated framework of technology that is designed at effectively performing the business of the Department. While few businesses can turn a revenue by permitting their employees to buy anything they need to do any project they want, the Department too does not function effectively with hardware and software systems that has been purchased on an "impulse purchase" basis and installed without a complete plan. All facets as mentioned below of capital planning are taken into consideration, as they would be in any private industry (The National Science Foundation Office):

Cost/benefit ratio

Anticipated life of the technology

Flexibility and potential for multiple uses

The law also ensures that the investment made by the Federal Government investment in information technology is well made and utilized sensibly. The law has been designed to promote more competition, help the Government gain from efficient private sector techniques and eradicate heavy regulations (The National Science Foundation Office).

For these purpose agencies have been obliged to make a formal process in order to maximize the benefits of information technology acquisition, which includes planning, assessment, and risk management. On the hand, the Clinger-Cohen Act has created the legal position of Chief Information Officer (CIO) in most important Federal Government agencies. The aim to improve information technology practices through Office of Management and Budget, the agencies, and the Chief Information Officers. What requires by the agencies and CIO is a mission and program driven strategic planning for information technology (University Washington).

In order to ensure that information technology activities align with agency plans and operations, senior user management guidance is required along with standard evaluation of information technology skills record, skills necessities, and skills development programs. In brief, the Clinger-Cohen Act attempts to develop an operative and well-organized, mission-oriented, user-oriented and results-oriented information technology practice in all Federal agencies (University Washington).

In addition to further help Federal agencies to meet the terms with the Clinger-Cohen Act, GSA has developed a guide that identifies eight steps to link IT investments to agency activities. This guide comprises lessons that are based upon the learning from Federal and State governments as well as private industry. It combines performance measurement and capital planning named, "Performance-Based Management: Eight Steps to Develop and Use Information Technology Performance Measures Effectively (University Washington)."

According to the former Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology, Honorable Paul G. Kaminski,

The Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996 (formerly known as the Federal Acquisition Reform Act of 1996 (FARA) and the Information Technology Management Reform Act of 1996 (ITMRA)) further advance the changes made by FASA. The Clinger-Cohen Act provides a number of significant opportunities for DoD to further streamline and reduce non-value added steps in the acquisition process. Among the most significant changes authorized by the Act is a test of the use of the Simplified Acquisition Procedures (SAP) for commercial items between the simplified acquisition threshold of $100,000 and $5 million.

This should allow DoD to reduce its administrative costs and the overhead costs for DoD's vendor base for purchases of relatively low risk items. This change eliminated government-unique requirements previously cited by industry as a barrier to doing business with DoD.

The Act also provides the authority for contracting activities to use SAPs for all requirements between $50,000 and the SAP while the government works to fully implement Electronic Commerce / Electronic Data Interchange (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development)."

The law governing the IT management along with the Clinger-Cohen Act provides considerable release from cumbersome processes that although add little value, but has considerable cost to the acquisition of information technologies. However, the passage of the Act allows concentrating on the suitable use and management of information technology resources (University Washington).

While, reducing the number and frequency of objections it lessens the amount of time an information technology acquisition takes, and moves the Department in the direction of the use of sound acquisition strategies (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development).

Requirements for Chief Information Officer

There have issues revolving the requirements in hiring of the chief information officer (CIO) in executive agencies. However, according to few agencies the responsibilities allocated to the CIO should be taken into consideration and should be amended accordingly. However, as established by the Clinger-Cohen Act, the requirements for appointing an OIC are (Intervista Institute):

Knowledge and skills of IRM…

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