Senators attempt to give federal datacenter consolidation the force of law

An amendment to the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 attempts to give the Federal datacenter consolidation mandate some teeth

While the ongoing Federal datacenter consolidation effort certainly seems to be making progress in fits and starts, U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and Tom Coburn are attempting to give the mandate a bit more bite by legislating the consolidation process.

They are doing this by filing an amendment to the Cybersecurity Act of 2012, which is about to be considered by the full Senate. Their amendment would require that affected Federal agencies would need to submit full scale plans for their datacenter consolidations and closings.  The plans would need to include hard timelines and cost savings estimates. These plans would need to be submitted to the OMB. Along with the concrete plans, there would be annual reviews for five years to assure that the various agencies were on track with their consolidation progress and a review by an appointed Inspector General to document the thoroughness of the datacenter inventories.

The OMB has been vocal in their claims that some form of legislation would be necessary to ensure the compliance and actions of all of the Federal agencies affected by the datacenter consolidation mandate, and in their most recent report were not happy with what was perceived as a lack of progress and a misrepresentation of what had been accomplished. The amendment would direct the OMB to provide regular updates to Congress on cost savings achieved and that the Government Accounting Office would continue the annual review process that is currently being used.

Unfortunately, while this amendment is at least indirectly related to the purpose of the Cybersecurity Act of 2012, many of the more than 70 other amendments that have been offered are completely unrelated to the topic at hand. It has gotten so bad that the Senator Joseph Leiberman, who introduced the bill, has asked his colleagues to refrain from adding unrelated amendments.

While the Cybersecurity Act has bipartisan support, many of the unrelated amendments are more in the line of “business as usual” partisan politics and are likely to, at the very least, hinder approval by the full Senate, if not derail the bill completely.