Ernst highlights OPM failures during hearing

Ernst Hearing OPM HackFrom Press Release


During the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing last week titled, “Under Attack: Federal Cybersecurity and the OPM Data Breach”, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) cited failures due to poor project management as it relates to the Office of Personnel Management data breach, and pressed the witnesses on OPM’s management of its new IT improvement project identified by the Inspector General’s flash audit. In addition, Ernst also raised questions over how many more people could have been potentially impacted by the data breach.

Those testifying before HSGAC included: Katherine Archuleta, Director of the Office of Personnel Management; Tony Scott, U.S. Chief Information Officer of the Office of Personnel Management; Andy Ozment, Ph.D., Assistant Secretary, Office of Cybersecurity and Communications for the National Protection and Programs Directorate, U.S. Department of Homeland Security; and Patrick E. McFarland, Inspector General for the Office of Personnel Management.

In her questioning, Senator Ernst highlighted the Program Management Improvement Accountability Act, which she introduced alongside Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), and passed out of committee earlier this week. The bipartisan legislation safeguards taxpayer dollars by holding the federal government accountable to adopt the program management standards, practices and procedures of high-performing, private sector organizations.

In response to Ernst’s questioning, Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-WI) pointed out “we spend $80 billion per year on IT systems in the federal government, so this is a problem of management, it’s a problem of prioritization.”

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