The IT Law Wiki


U.S. government[]

Information resources management (IRM) is

the process of managing information resources to accomplish agency missions and to improve agency performance, including through the reduction of information collection burdens on the public.[1]

"The term encompasses both information itself and the related resources, such as personnel, equipment, funds, and IT."[2]


IRM is a philosophical and practical approach to managing government information. Information is regarded as a valuable resource which should be managed like any other resource, and should contribute directly to accomplishing organizational goals and objectives. IRM provides an integrated view for managing the entire lifecycle of information, from generation, to dissemination, to archiving and/or destruction, in order to maximize the overall usefulness of the information, and improving service delivery and program management.

U.S. government[]

Since l980, federal law has placed the management of IT under the umbrella of IRM. Originating in a l977 recommendation to Congress from the Commission on Federal Paperwork, the IRM approach was first enacted into law in the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980. This act required the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to oversee federal agency IRM areas, which combined IT with information management areas, including information collection, records management, and privacy.[3] The law also gave agencies a more general responsibility to carry out their IRM activities in an efficient, effective, and economical manner and to comply with OMB policies and guidelines. To assist in this effort, the law required that each agency head designate a senior official who would report directly to the agency head to carry out the IRM responsibilities of the agency under the law.

Amendments to the Paperwork Reduction Act in 1986[4] and 1995[5] were designed to strengthen agency and OMB implementation of the law. Most particularly, the Act’s 1995 amendments provided detailed agency requirements for each IRM area, to match the specific OMB provisions.[6] In addition, these amendments required agencies to develop, for the first time, processes to select, control, and evaluate the results of major information systems initiatives.[7] Under the Paperwork Reduction Act, as amended through 1995, senior IRM officials were required to carry out the responsibilities of their agencies with respect to IRM and report directly to the head of the agency.

The Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996 supplemented the information technology management provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act with detailed requirements for IT capital planning and investment control and performance and results-based management.[8] The Clinger-Cohen Act also established the position of agency CIO by amending the Paperwork Reduction Act to rename the senior IRM officials “chief information officers” and specifying additional responsibilities for them.[9] Accordingly, agency CIOs are required by law to carry out the responsibilities of their agencies with respect to

Specifically, with regard to IT management, the CIO is responsible for:

Together, these statutory responsibilities require CIOs to be key leaders in managing IT and other information functions in a coordinated fashion in order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of programs and operations.


  1. 44 U.S.C. §3502(7).
  2. The Common Approach to Federal Enterprise Architecture, at 46 (Terms and Definitions).
  3. The Act required OMB to oversee the acquisition and use of automatic data processing and telecommunications equipment (which later came to be known as IT).
  4. Title VIII, Pub. L. No. 99-591 (Oct. 30, 1986).
  5. Pub. L. No. 104-13 (May 22, 1995).
  6. 44 U.S.C. §3506.
  7. Id. §3506(h)(5).
  8. 40 U.S.C. §§11312, 11313.
  9. Id. §11315; 44 U.S.C. §3506(a). The Clinger-Cohen Act requirement that agency CIOs have IRM as their primary duty applies to the 24 major departments and agencies listed in 31 U.S.C. §901(b). The E-Government Act of 2002 reiterated agency responsibility for information resources management. Pub. L. No. 107-347 (Dec. 17, 2002).