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Financial Acts and CiosResearch Paper

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¶ … Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996 and discusses the law in brief. This paper also provides a background to the need and the enactment of the law. Further, while providing a definition of IT, OMB and CIO, this paper goes on to identify and discuss how the standards in the IT applications in federal agencies. It also discusses the regulations that help enhance the efficiency of federal IT systems in terms of acquiring, use and dissemination of information throughout the government set up to ensure the success of government programs among many objectives. The management power sand the process of management of federal IT systems, including the procurement and contracting rights, responsibilities and processes are also discussed.




Standards and Regulations

Management, 7

Procurement and Contracting




The Information Technology Management Reform Act and the Federal Acquisition Reform Act were essentially replaced by the Clinger-Cohen Act (CCA) of 1996. In a nutshell, this act seeks to make use of information technology to encourage results-based and performance-based management. Focus is given more to IT investment management instead of IT acquisition management while seeking to better create and implement policies and strategies for management of information resources and IT instead of information management (Gillam, n.d.).

In this context, the act defines information technology as it was used in the 1998 amendments to the Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. This section defines the electronic and information technology which is developed, procured, maintained, and or put to use by the federal government and says that it has to be accessible.

The act also identifies the Office of the Management and Budget (OMB) as an important cog in the implementation of the policies in the act (Gillam, n.d.). The OMB is part of the Executive Office of the President of the United States and is the largest in size. This office directly reports to the President while helping the executive departments as well as the other government agencies under the Federal Government in the implementation of policies and administration commitments and priorities.

The roles and the Importance of the Chief information officer (CIO) are also emphasized in the Clinger ad Cohen Act. The CIO in government executive agencies is established by the Clinger-Cohen Act and such executives would essentially directly report to the agency head with IRM as the primary duty (Agresti, 2006). The importance of the CIOs is further established by the law as he/she is responsible for providing advice and assistance on a matter related to IT and information resources management to the agency head (Gillam, n.d.).

Hence, according to the Clinger-Cohen Act, the OMB assumes great significance in the conduct of administrative policies and strategies of the U.S. government. The act also establishes the roles of the CIOs of federal agencies as very critical for management of the resources of information which forms that basis of the results-based and performance-based management spirit of the act.


The need for the management of the resources of information, especially in the government agencies, in the U.S., were being felt for some time. The management of IT was not enough for the adequate control and use of the information available to the government. Instead, it was believed that the management of the resources of information was more important and this formed the backdrop for the need for the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996.

Lawmakers and experts also felt that need to streamline the acquisition of information and exert some form of control over the various sources of information. Both the management of information and the acquisition of information were guided by the Information Technology Management Reform Act and the Federal Acquisition Reform Act respectively. However, this often resulted in the loss of information, inadequate use of the available information and problems related to acquiring information (Gillam, n.d.).

Also, need was felt for creating and pinning responsibilities on a single chair that could overlook the entire process. Hence the need for a new law, its emergence and ultimate passing and enactment of the Clinger-Cohen Act. The background of the act was ripe with the need for issuing of up-to-date records management directives, adequate training of people responsible for implementation and carefully evaluating the results to ensure adequacy, efficiency and effectiveness (Agresti, 2006).

The law itself helped in the generation of a number of significant changes with respect to the roles and responsibilities that were accorded to various federal agencies and who were in charge of managing the acquisition of IT. The law has made and enhanced the overall responsibility of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget in the White House and the CHOs in various government agencies and departments. The guidelines that are set by OMB, empowered by the law, necessarily have to be followed by agencies.

The law also entails the integration of IT into the process of procurement at the agency level as well as the process of procurement of commercial-off-the-shelf technology. Each of the federal agencies would also have to name a CIO who would be entrusted with the responsibility of "developing, maintaining, and facilitating the implementation of a sound and integrated information technology architecture." As mentioned earlier, advising the director of an agency is among the important roles of a CIO, according to the law (McKinnon, 2001).

Standards and Regulations

According to the Clinger-Cohen Act, the responsibility for developing and implementing the standards and the guidelines related to the Federal computer systems implemented by the Secretary of Commerce and through the National Institute of Standards and Technology which is done under section 5131 and section 20 of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Act (15 U.S.C. 278g-3), rests with the Director of OMB (Gillam, n.d.).

Hence the provisions of the Clinger-Cohen Act has enabled the setting up of standards and regulations in the IT management and IT resources management in the federal government agencies in the U.S. One example is the development of the U.S. Federal CIO Council, which is a direct fallout of the enactment of the law (Gillam, n.d.).

The Clinger-Cohen Act has resulted in the formation of the U.S. Federal CIO Council, which is a body comprising of all the agency CIOs. Since 2002, this council was codified by the Congress in the E-Government Act. Development of recommendations for information technology management policies of the government and the procedures, and the standards for the same, identification of opportunities for information sharing and assessment and addressing of the needs of the IT workforce of the Federal government, are among the primary roles of the council. This formation of a CIOs' council is a direct fallout of the Clinger-Cohen Act and one which has had a significant impact on the way IT resources are managed in the federal agencies of the U.S. government (Schick, 2001).

Some of the standards were mentioned in the Clinger-Cohen Act itself while others have been developed and codified over the years. While the OMB researchers and assess the need for standards and regulatory framework in IT resources management, the process of procurement and budgeting and the assessment based on performance and results, this largest executive wing of the White House is aided by suggestions especially those from the CIOs.


The management of the IT resources in the federal agencies of the U.S. government is directly and vividly controlled by the Director of the Office of Management and Budget and implemented through the CIOs of these agencies. The OMB, through the CIOs, manages almost all aspects of IT and IT resource management for the federal government and its agencies (Schick, 2001).

OMB sets out policies and strategies for the use of information technology in Federal programs and the director the OMB is responsible for the improvement of acquisition, its use, and the disposal of information technology by the Federal Government. The director manages strategies that seek to enhance the productivity, effectiveness and the efficiency of Federal programs through the efficient use of IT.

Another important aspect of management by the OMB, through the CIOs, is making use of the budget process. A process for the analysis, tracking, and evaluation of the risk and the results of all of the major capital investments that are made by a federal agency for IT systems and the development of a part of the budget process are among the management responsibilities accorded to the OMB by the act. The process comprises of the analysis of the projected and the actual costs incurred, the benefits and the risks related to the investments.

The law also has opened up doors for the management of standards of information technology Standards where the development and the implementation of standards are overseen by the OMB Director with assistance from the CIOs of federal agencies. The standards and guidelines pertain to the computer systems of the Federal government and its agencies.

Management of the best practices in the acquisition of information technology by the heads of the executive agencies is encouraged by the OMB. The models that are… [END OF PREVIEW]

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