Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act Gaining Opposition From Technology Industry Groups

Dec 11, 2012

In October, we highlighted how the “Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act,” sponsored by Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Representative Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), would have tremendous impact on the government IT sector.

Since the legislation would condense IT authority under a single agency CIO, who would directly report to the Federal CIO, it aims to consolidate the way that government purchases IT solutions from industry vendors.

Our argument was that, while this effort is laudable, the challenge is that consolidation is costly and many agencies don’t have the resources to meet these new requirements.

Now, industry groups like TechAmerica are coming out and stating that the legislation will create more confusion for government procurement officials and could hamper the acquisition process.

Per the new legislation, a new Commodity IT Acquisition Center would be created, which oversees large, government-wide information technology contracts.  According to TechAmerica, this new center could weaken the GSA’s overall schedule program.

Conversely, a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee spokesperson has said that the center would make it easier for IT vendors to bid on contracts by reducing the cumbersome acquisition requirements.

Others have voiced concerns that the new center would duplicate much of work already being done by the GSA, which could lead to more paperwork and less pay off for industry.

The letter from TechAmerica, also signed by leaders from the Coalition for Government Procurement, the Business Software Alliance and the Information Technology Industry Council, stated that the legislation could have a negative impact on small and minority owned businesses that do work with the government.

It will be interesting to see how this will all play out.  As we have highlighted before, this is a significant piece of legislation.  And, judging by the responses from industry groups, there may be a long road ahead until this legislation fully comes to light.