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Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act

The federal government invests more than $90 billion annually in information technology (IT) services, products, and projects. The USDA is projected to invest over $2.4 billion for IT products and services.

Many of the federal IT projects fail, incur cost overruns, schedule slippages, or contribute little to enhancing mission capabilities. This underperformance of federal IT projects can be traced to a lack of disciplined and effective management and inadequate executive-level oversight.

Congressional Oversight, Committee on Oversight and Accountability

To improve agencies’ IT acquisitions and operations management, Congress enacted the law (PUBLIC LAW 113–291) known as the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) in December 2014, with the intent of strengthening and supporting the Clinger Cohen Act (40 U.S.C. §§11101-11 704).

Office of Management and Budget (OMB)

In June 2015, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued the Management and Oversight of Federal IT Memoranda (M-15-14) to provide specific guidance on the implementation of FITARA across the federal sector and ensure that government-wide implementation is consistent with existing laws, policies, and management practices.

FITARA Scorecard and Congressional Hearings

Soon after the enactment of FITARA, Members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee alongside the Government Accountability Office (GAO) developed the FITARA Scorecard, which grades agencies from A to F on its performance and efforts of FITARA implementation. The first scorecard was released in November 2015. Since then, the scorecard is released twice a year. In addition, the Subcommittees holds hearings on the overall federal government implementation of FITARA.

Visit to see an overview of USDA grades.

FITARA Implementation

In November 2015, USDA developed the its Common Baseline and Implementation Plan, in response to the M-15-14 mandate. USDA’s plan reinforces the role and authority of the USDA Chief Information Officer (CIO) in establishing an inclusive, integrated governance process that manages IT as a strategic resource.

The USDA is taking an enterprise approach to implementing FITARA to drive effective business processes and decision-making to support the diverse mission of its Mission Areas.

  • DR-3145-001, Oversight and Management of the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA), provides guidance that USDA shall ensure all applicable policies, procedures, and governance structures are consistent with FITARA’s requirements.
  • FITARA Self-Assessment
  • FITARA Scorecard Improvement (Mission Area Analysis (PDF, 328 KB))
  • Other related FITARA Publicly Available information
    • Agency IT Policy Archive, an archive containing USDA’s general IT policies can be found here: ZIP
    • Bureau IT Leadership Directory, a listing of USDA employees with the title of CIO can be found here: HTML | JSON
    • CIO Governance Board Membership, a listing of USDA governance boards the USDA CIO is a member of can be found here: HTML | JSON
    • FITARA Milestones, a dataset of reviews and updates of the USDA FITARA Implementation Plan can be found here: PDF | JSON
    • Cost Savings/Avoidance, a dataset of realized cost savings and/or avoidances since 2012 can be found here: JSON
    • Data Center Optimization Initiative (DCOI) Strategic Plans reporting requirements can be found here: JSON | USDA CIO Certification | CIO Certification

For more information on USDA implementation of FITARA, feel free to contact us at