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May 11, 2023

CIO Council Releases Handbook for Small Agency CIOs and Executives

By Chris Chilbert, Chief Information Officer, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Co-Chair of Small Agency CIO Council and Tony McDonald, CIO, OMB, Chief Information Officer, Office of Management and Budget, Co-Chair of Small Agency CIO Council


The Small Agency CIO Council published the Federal Small Agency CIO and IT Executive Handbook in partnership with GSA’s IT Modernization division. As co-chairs of the Small Agency CIO Council and having managed IT organizations within the context of small agencies, we recognized the importance of creating guidance specifically to meet the unique challenges faced by IT leaders in our small agency community. This handbook serves as a foundational guide to assist small agency IT Executives in carrying out their missions.

Small agencies often have unique organizational structures that do not follow the traditional staffing model for IT administration. For example, small agencies may not have a full suite of IT leadership roles or even a designated CIO. In some scenarios, executives may fulfill multiple roles in IT management while in others executives may have diverse backgrounds outside of the IT space.  

Small agencies shoulder the same responsibilities as large agencies with respect to IT responsibilities and implementation. This handbook provides a general approach to the comprehensive management of an agency’s IT portfolio, including an overview of foundational elements and principles to establish and maintain reliable, secure, and effective IT operations and services. Due to the diverse nature of small agency staffing, the handbook uses the term IT Executive to refer to the individual at the agency with the primary responsibility for IT management and the standard duties of a federal Chief Information Officer (CIO). The ultimate responsibility for managing IT, data, and information security is with the agency head.

The Federal Small Agency CIO and IT Executive Handbook aims to:

  • Provide IT Executives foundational information about their areas of responsibility in managing their IT portfolio.
  • Highlight laws, policies, tools, and initiatives related to federal IT to improve compliance and implementation.
  • Provide decision-making guidance and recommendations for challenges specific to small agencies.
  • Serve as a consolidated knowledge base and a quick reference to access information and resources from GSA and other organizations.

This handbook is designed to supplement the existing Federal CIO Handbook and other role-specific guidance documents. The handbook contains substantial contributions from the federal community and small agency representatives and leaders. Although targeted towards small Federal agencies, we feel the contents of this document can benefit anyone within the Federal IT community as well as state and local governments. We encourage you to take a look today!


Chris Chilbert
Chief Information Officer
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Tony McDonald, CIO, OMB
Chief Information Officer
Office of Management and Budget

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