GAO: Critical Actions Needed to Address Shortcomings in CIO Roles

None of the 24 agencies have policies that fully addressed the role of their Chief Information Officers (CIO) consistent with federal laws and guidance, according to the Government Accountability Office. In addition, the majority of the agencies did not fully address the role of their CIOs for any of the six key areas that GAO identified.

Among other things, officials from most agencies stated that their CIOs are implementing the responsibilities even when not required in policy. Nevertheless, the 24 selected CIOs acknowledged in their responses to GAO’s survey that they were not always very effective in implementing the six information technology (IT) management areas. Until agencies fully address the role of CIOs in their policies, agencies will be limited in addressing longstanding IT management challenges.

Shortcomings in agencies’ policies are partially attributable to two weaknesses in the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) guidance. First, the guidance does not comprehensively address all CIO responsibilities, such as those relating to assessing the extent to which personnel meet IT management knowledge and skill requirements and ensuring that personnel are held accountable for complying with the information security program. Correspondingly, the majority of the agencies’ policies did not fully address nearly all of the responsibilities not included in OMB guidance. Second, OMB guidance does not ensure that CIOs have a significant role in (1) IT planning, programming, and budgeting decisions and (2) execution decisions and the management, governance, and oversight processes related to IT. In the absence of comprehensive guidance, CIOs will not be positioned to effectively acquire, maintain, and secure their IT systems.

Read more at GAO

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