Davis kicks IT oversight upstairs to full committee

What's on Davis' IT hot list?

Cybersecurity'Monitor IT security and continue to issue an annual scorecard rating agencies' security programs

E-government'Review funding for e-government programs and track progress on E-Government Act mandates

Emerging technologies'Pay attention to how agencies use new technologies such as radio frequency identification and track involvement in standards setting

E-voting'Review the security and reliability of electronic voting systems and identify best practices

General Services Administration'Consider whether legislation is needed to restructure the Federal Technology Service and the Federal Supply Service

Information sharing'Make sure agencies implement the provisions of the intelligence reform act and create systems to share terrorism data securely

IP Version 6'Keep an eye on agencies' migration to the next-generation IP standards

Networx'Follow GSA's progress on this $20 billion follow-on to FTS 2001

Privacy'Monitor agencies to assure protections for personal data gathered by government systems

Security clearance reform'Make sure legislation he sponsored is implemented quickly and begins reducing the clearance backlog

Transportation Security Administration'Track work on the new screening systems for air passengers

U.S. Visit'Oversee Homeland Security's progress on the U.S. Visitors and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology system

Rep. Tom Davis

IT is so entrenched across government programs that it demands the attention of a full committee'that's the reasoning behind Rep. Tom Davis' decision this month to elevate IT oversight to his House Government Reform Committee.

Previously, the Subcommittee on Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations and the Census took first crack at most IT issues. But Davis has eliminated it and parceled out the work to other subcommittees and the full committee.

'This is not an indication of technology issues being downgraded,' the Virginia Republican said. 'Technology is really something that is throughout all of government and not an issue by itself.'

As Government Reform's chairman, Davis now will personally oversee major IT issues such as e-government, cybersecurity, information sharing and reviews of specific systems within agencies. He also will set IT agendas for the subcommittees as needed.

'We will work with the subcommittees to facilitate the technology agenda,' a committee staff member said. 'There will be two full committee staff members working on IT and e-government issues, and at least three others working on IT, information policy and agency management issues.'

Davis reorganized Government Reform's seven subcommittees, moving issues such as oversight of the National Archives and Records Administration to the Subcommittee on Government Management, Finance and Accountability, and telecommuting under the Subcommittee on the Federal Workforce and Agency Organization.

Dan Heinemeier, president of the Government Electronics and IT Association of Arlington, Va., said Davis will have to pick and choose his IT priorities. But Heinemeier said he has little concern because Davis' background in IT is strong.

But IT programs will vie for the committee's attention. Government Reform's jurisdiction is sweeping, ranging from systems use and immigration reform to federal dietary guidelines and the management of the District of Columbia.

'We may see fewer hearings dedicated to IT,' but the quality of the sessions will make up for the lack of quantity, the committee staff member said.

During Congress' last two sessions, Rep. Adam Putnam (R-Fla.) was chairman of the Subcommittee on Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations and the Census. He conducted more than 30 IT hearings but left the committee in November to become a member of the House Rules Committee.

'Chairman Davis is the granddaddy of most of the technology, information policy and procurement policy on the books today,' Putnam said. 'I'm not surprised he is anxious to continue to play a leading role in these issues.'

Putnam, who said he still will keep an eye on federal IT policy and programs from his Rules seat, said Davis had helped set the agenda for the former IT subcommittee.

The luxe life

'We had the luxury of being able to devote more hearings on the topic,' Putnam said. 'But Davis has the luxury of bringing to bear the full force of the committee, so the IT management issues he highlights will have a far bigger spotlight on them than I was able to shine from the subcommittee level.'

Davis signaled the committee's continued interest in IT by hosting officials from the Office of Management and Budget for an IT briefing four days before President Bush sent his fiscal 2006 budget proposal to Congress.

'That was a barometer for how the agencies view the committee,' said Joe Draham, vice president of government relations and congressional affairs for GTSI Corp. of Chantilly, Va.

OMB recognizes that if it can't convince Davis that its IT agenda is worthwhile, then the administration is unlikely to gain traction on these issues with lawmakers generally, Draham said.

Karen Evans, OMB's administrator for e-government and IT, said the administration will work closely with Davis and the full committee on IT management issues.

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