House's Putnam plans 22 hearings in year's first session

House's Putnam plans 22 hearings in year's first session

The House's IT overseer plans to step up review of government systems efforts and policy initiatives this year.

Rep. Adam Putnam (R-Fla.), chairman of the House Government Reform Subcommittee on Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations and the Census, has scheduled 22 hearings for the 24-week session ahead.

A key agenda item will be systems security and whether agencies are meeting the requirements of the Federal Information Security Management Act.

Agencies are taking steps to head off congressional criticism on their progress in making systems secure. About eight agency technology managers have met with subcommittee staff members and Bob Dix, the committee's staff director, said he expects to meet with several more agencies before the March 10 hearing on the security scorecard that the subcommittee released in December. The government received a grade of D overall for its IT security efforts [see GCN story].

'We will look at the entire FISMA process to see whether it needs to be tweaked,' he said. 'Agencies want to learn more about the FISMA grading process and learn how to improve. We now have consistent FISMA guidelines, and we are getting better agency leadership.'

But the subcommittee's ambitious agenda runs the gamut of IT issues, Dix said. Besides the security hearing, here's what is on the subcommittee's slate for March:

  • March 3: agencies' IT investment management and strategic planning and how the Office of Management and Budget's use of business cases is improving the process


  • March 24: the 25 e-government initiatives and what's next on the federal e-gov plate


  • March 30: a review of the security in place for supervisory control and data acquisition systems at power plants and other parts of the critical infrastructure.


'We have a pretty busy schedule, but we have a lot of work to do,' Dix said. 'Our oversight will be from a different perspective this session. We have knowledge base that will allow us to be more catalytic in terms of advancing policy issues that influence the reform agenda.'

The subcommittee still is ironing out its plans for other hearings. But Dix said Putnam and the staff know they must look into at least five areas:

  • Health informatics and public health monitoring systems


  • Information security and information sharing analysis centers


  • Intergovernmental strategies for homeland security and law enforcement data sharing


  • Progress on the Federal Enterprise Architecture


  • Information security patch management.

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