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GAO Says Agency CIOs Need More IT Authority

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Chief information officers at federal agencies are limited in their ability to exercise their authority on information technology management even though federal law calls for it, according to the Government Accountability Office.

In its 72-page report, GAO found 14 of 30 surveyed CIOs held other job titles with different responsibilities, including chief acquisition officer and chief human capital officer.

One CIO had five different job titles, the report said.

“Holding other positions is contrary to the federal law requiring that IT and information management be the CIOs primary function and distracts from the responsibility to ensure that agencies carry out their IT and information management in an efficient, effective, and economical manner,” the report said.

CIOs are less frequently responsible for information management duties such as records management and privacy requirements, the report said. They commonly share those responsibilities with other offices or organizations within the agency.

GAO recommended the Office of Management and Budget issue guidance to agencies requiring CIO authority in IT management be fully implemented.

The 1996 Clinger-Cohen Act requires the CIO to report directly to the agency secretary. Some 28 of the surveyed CIOs reported they have “adequate access” to their supervising official.

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