NASA, Homeland Security receive D- grades on IT issues

NASA, Homeland Security receive D- grades on IT issues

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) were both awarded D- grades on their information technology management efforts in a biannual scorecard of federal agencies.

The House Oversight government operations subcommittee released version 8.0 of the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) scorecard in a hearing on Wednesday.

The scorecard gave IT scores to two dozen agencies, as well as individual scores for each agency in areas such as cybersecurity, the modernization of technology and transparency and risk management.

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The scorecard has been required since 2014 as part of the FITARA Act, which requires multiple federal agencies to boost IT security and modernization efforts. It was first published in November 2015, with the most recent previous scorecard released this past December.

While DHS and NASA both received the lowest grades, the Department of Education, the Small Business Administration, the General Services Administration, and the National Science Foundation tied for the top overall grade of a B+. No agency received an A overall score.

Scores most stayed stagnant from December, with five federal agencies increasing their scores, 14 keeping the same scores and five seeing lower scores. DHS was among those to have its grade cut, going from a C- to a D-, while the departments of Agriculture and Defense were among those that saw the most improvement since December. 

Most agencies appeared to struggle most in cybersecurity, with only the National Science Foundation receiving an A in that category.

The departments of Health and Human Services, Agriculture, and Commerce all received Fs on cyber issues. Software licensing, by comparison, was the area where agencies most excelled, with 20 receiving As.

Subcommittee Chairman Gerald Connolly (D-Va.) said during the hearing that the scorecard “reflects the improvements agencies have made in implementing” the FITARA Act, and said the law would help agencies protect themselves against cyber attacks.

Subcommittee Ranking Member Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsLawmakers request documents on DC councilman ethics investigation House Republicans dismissive of Paul Ryan's take on Trump The 27 Republicans who voted with Democrats to block Trump from taking military action against Iran MORE (R-N.C.) told witnesses at the hearing, including officials from the Office of Management and Budget and the Government Accountability Office, that the committee is working to "attach dollars both as penalties and rewards" for agencies.

“We want everyone to understand that scorecards are meaningful to us and eventually they are going to be meaningful to the agencies," he said.