Attain’s Simon Szykman Talks FITARA, CIO Powers

Attain’s Simon Szykman weighed in on a report from NASA’s inspector general that concluded the agency has made little progress in implementing an IT governance structure.

In a conversation with “Government Matters,” the former Commerce Department chief information officer who’s now chief technology officer for Attain Federal Services, said understanding the larger context of NASA’s CIO organization is essential to building a “transformation strategy” going forward.

“The NASA Chief Information Officer continues to have limited visibility into IT investments across the agency, and the process NASA developed to correct this shortcoming is flawed,” the IG said. These shortcomings hurt NASA’s cybersecurity posture and its ability to consolidate IT expenditures and realize cost savings.

Szykman said the problem of CIOs having minimal control of spending is “an endemic problem across many of the large and decentralized agencies.”

The Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act “was certainly aimed at changing that, and I think FITARA has been changing that,” he said. “The question is to what degree, and I think it’s been a little mixed.”

Without full decision-making powers, an agency CIO lacks the ability to build trust and consensus, Szykman said.

Watch the full interview here.


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