The federal government invests billions in information technology (IT) each year to help agencies accomplish their missions. Federal law, particularly the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996, has defined the role of Chief Information Officer (CIO) as the focal point for IT management within agencies. Given the longstanding challenges the government faces in managing IT and the continued importance of the CIO, GAO was asked to (1) determine the current roles and responsibilities of CIOs, (2) determine what potential modifications to the Clinger-Cohen Act and related laws could be made to enhance CIOs' authority and effectiveness, and (3) identify key lessons learned by CIOs in managing IT. To do this, GAO administered a questionnaire to 30 CIOs, compared responses to legislative requirements and the results of a 2004 GAO study, interviewed current CIOs, convened a panel of former agency CIOs, and spoke with the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) Federal CIO.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Office of Management and Budget||1. To ensure that CIOs are better able to carry out their statutory role as key leaders in managing IT, the Director of OMB should issue guidance to agencies requiring that CIOs' authorities and responsibilities, as defined by law and by OMB, are fully implemented, taking into account the issues raised in this report.|
|Office of Management and Budget||2. To ensure that CIOs are better able to carry out their statutory role as key leaders in managing IT, the Director of OMB should establish deadlines and metrics that require agencies to demonstrate the extent to which their CIOs are exercising the authorities and responsibilities provided by law and OMB's guidance.|
|Office of Management and Budget||3. To ensure that CIOs are better able to carry out their statutory role as key leaders in managing IT, the Director of OMB should require agencies to identify and document internal lessons learned and best practices for managing information technology|