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Summary of Major Provisions of Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996

Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996 (Information Technology Management Reform Act), Public Law 104-106

The Clinger-Cohen Act (CCA) of 1996 renames the Information Technology Management Reform Act and the Federal Acquisition Reform Act. CCA encourages performance-based and results-based management through the effective use of information technology (IT). It shifts the emphasis from IT acquisition management to IT investment management, and emphasizes information resources management and IT management (not information management).

The Clinger-Cohen Act repeals the Brooks Act and returns IT procurement authority to executive agencies. It transfers day-to-day management of IT from GSA to OMB, with the exception of FTS2000. The effect is to eliminate the Federal Information Resources Management Regulations (GSA has moved some provisions to the Federal Acquisition Regulations) and the General Services Board of Contract Appeals. The law gives OMB responsibility for:

    • Developing a process for analyzing, tracking, and evaluating the risks and results of major capital investments,

    • Directing executive agencies on establishing an effective, efficient IT capital planning and investment review process, and Enforcing accountability through the budget process.

The law gives executive agencies responsibility for:

    • Establishing an IT capital planning and investment review process,

    • Using performance measures to assess how well IT supports programs, and

    • Justifying continuation of systems that deviate from cost, performance, or schedule goals.

The Clinger-Cohen Act establishes a chief information officer (CIO) in executive agencies who:

    • Reports directly to the agency head,

    • Has IRM as the primary duty,

    • Provides advice and assistance to the agency head on IT and information resources management,

    • Develops an integrated IT architecture,

    • Promotes efficient and effective design and operation of IRM processes,

    • Uses performance measures to monitor IT programs,

    • Assesses the knowledge and skills of IRM personnel,

    • Shares with the CFO responsibility for provision of financial and performance data for financial statements, and

    • Assumes the responsibilities of the Designated Senior Official defined in Paperwork Reduction Act.

Clinger-Cohen confirms the responsibility of the National Institute for Standards and Technology, Department of Commerce for standards and guidelines for computer systems and reinforces requirements of the Computer Security Act. It also encourages and provides for modular contracting for IT systems and pilot IT acquisition programs.