Lawmakers press budget chief on cybersecurity guidance for federal acquisitions

Lawmakers press budget chief on cybersecurity guidance for federal acquisitions
© Greg Nash

Two House lawmakers are pressing President Trump’s budget chief over a planned guidance to help agencies improve cybersecurity in federal acquisitions.

Reps. Will Hurd (R-Texas) and Robin Kelly (D-Ill.), leaders of the House Oversight subcommittee on information technology, wrote to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney this week asking for details on the status of the guidance.

The OMB released draft guidance in August 2015 to solicit public comment but never finalized the guidance as promised by the closing of the feedback period in September of that year, the lawmakers noted. 

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“Given the critical need for implementing strengthened cybersecurity protections in the federal acquisition process and the current lack of clear guidance for agencies on this topic, we request that you provide the committee with an update on any such guidance under development,” they wrote in the letter sent Tuesday, which was first reported by Politico.

“Further, if there is no specific guidance under development at this time, we ask that you provide a strategy or plan for developing guidance for agencies to improve and update cybersecurity requirements for federal acquisition. The strategy or plan should include milestones and stakeholder outreach information,” they wrote. 

Hurd and Kelly asked the OMB to respond to the committee by April 10.

The lawmakers sent the letter the same day they held a hearing examining the challenges to the federal IT acquisition system. A representative from the Government Accountability Office testified that the implementation of the OMB’s efforts to improve IT acquisition has been “inconsistent” and that the government needs to make more progress on the front.