Written testimony of DHS Management Directorate Chief Information Officer Richard Spires for a House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing



Even with the successes outlined above, recent challenges related to the fiscal environment have put pressure on all IT organizations. There are also evolving and increasing expectations from mission customers and external stakeholders, particularly as they see ever-advancing consumer capabilities in their personal use of technology. Based on my experience in the private sector and in dealing with CIOs in large commercial organizations, the Government could better manage IT. I see three root causes that are barriers to the objective of having Federal IT on a par with leading private sector firms. My list of root causes:

  1. Standardizing IT infrastructure – A department with a modern, homogeneous infrastructure could save as much as 30 percent on infrastructure costs, field applications more quickly and less costly, and provide improved IT security. Given the structure of Agency budgets and organizations, it is very difficult for an Agency CIO to have the tools available to drive such standardization.
  2. Developing the skills to run IT programs – There are several requirements for a successful IT program, including proper alignment of stakeholders, involvement of the customer, requirements analysis, architecture, information assurance, etc. The common denominator for successful program execution, however, is the need for a solid program management office.
  3. Institutionalizing flexibility to implement IT best practices – Agency leadership’s need for speed and agility has far outstripped the procurement and finance models in place in the Federal Government today. For the Federal Government to truly leverage its buying power, it must evolve from traditional timelines for budgeting and procurements to greater agility, which is expected by today’s business customers.

Addressing these three issues enables IT organizations to be both fast and flexible. They are the keys to IT success and would be transformational for the Federal Government. (Challenges)