Revisions to OMB's Circular A-130

AIMD-00-183R: Published: May 23, 2000. Publicly Released: May 23, 2000.

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Jack L. Brock, Jr
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Office of Public Affairs
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GAO commented on the proposed revision to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-130 regarding the management of information resources in the federal government.

GAO noted that: (1) GAO concurs with the proposal's emphasis on the institutionalization of strong information technology (IT) management practices and the creation of a strong Chief Information Officer (CIO) as an active participant in all agency strategic management activities; (2) GAO is specifically encouraged by the revision's requirements that: (a) agencies establish and maintain a capital planning and investment control process that links mission needs, information, and technology in an effective and efficient manner; (b) agencies include in their strategic information resources management plan a component summarizing the agency's security plan; (c) agencies include, as part of their capital planning process, references to processes used to ensure adherence to fundamental selection, control, and evaluation activities; (d) agencies adopt a portfolio management approach to information systems investment decisionmaking and provide information about the impact of alternative IT investment strategies and funding levels; and (e) agencies create an information technology architecture that documents linkages among mission needs, information content, and information technology capabilities; (3) changes to the proposed revisions are needed in four general areas that are critical to ensuring that agencies have the capability to manage their information resources investments effectively and efficiently; (4) regarding capital and investment management, three specific attributes associated with both the OMB guidance and the GAO guidance require further attention in the revised circular: (a) Circular A-130 should include a requirement that agencies ensure that full funding is requested for useful segments, or for the entire project if it is not divisible into useful segments; (b) agencies should provide guidance for selecting, controlling, and evaluating all IT projects; and (c) the requirement for periodic reviews of projects should be made clearer; (5) references to CIO appointments and responsibilities in the proposed circular are incomplete or inconsistent with existing laws and executive orders; (6) it also appears that in the attempt to make the requirements of the circular congruent with the requirements of the Clinger-Cohen Act, some of the specific requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act have not been addressed; and (7) GAO believes that revisions to the circular's appendix on software change control should be made.