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David Powner, Director of Strategic Engagement & Partnerships at MITRE, discusses the results of the latest Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act scorecard and recommendations for improving future iterations

Every agency in government has a passing grade on the latest Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) scorecard. David Powner, Director of Strategic Engagement and Partnerships at MITRE, Former Director of IT Issues at the Government Accountability Office, and an architect of the FITARA scorecard, spoke with Government Matters about the scorecard.

Powner testified at a Congressional hearing last week about the scorecard, highlighting the progress agencies have made since FITARA was enacted and providing recommendations for evolving the scorecard for the future. The evolution is important, Powner said, because “there are these other areas that we need that type of measurement and focus to better serve citizens and to advance mission at the agencies.”

Powner’s recommendations include enhancing the cyber category and creating four new categories: infrastructure, IT budgeting and funding, IT workforce, and mission modernization. Powner explained that having the right data to accurately measure agencies’ performance in these categories will be difficult but is critical. “With any scorecard you need to focus on the right areas, have a way to simply measure it with the right data, and then ultimately you want that to result in the right outcome.”

Despite the fact that, according to Nextgov, only one agency got an A+ on the latest scorecard, the overall trend shows great progress, Powner explained. The specifics and minutia are not as important as the bigger picture. “What the scorecard proved is that if you focus on something and measure it over time, you’re going to see some progress.”

Powner will be watching for a mission modernization focus for the scorecard in the future, saying it is important to “tackle the hard stuff.”

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