Mar 04 2013

VanRoekel: The Future of IT Is Mobile

Federal CIO expects to use FedRAMP model for other technologies.

Federal CIO Steven VanRoekel believes that mobile technology will be ubiquitous throughout the government in the near future.

“I think in 5 years we will be to a place where you will bring your mobile device to work, and you will pop it into a dock, and it’ll just use the screen that’s in front of you on your desk and where you’re just utilizing mobile in day-to-day life,” VanRoekel said in an exclusive interview with FedTech.

VanRoekel said that the “bring your own device” model has been adopted extensively in the private sector and that the government is looking to follow suit in a way that addresses concerns about security while respecting the user’s ownership of the device.

The federal government’s success in implementing cloud computing offers a model to improve mobile efforts, VanRoekel said, noting that “agencies have been moving to the cloud pretty steadily in a lot of big and small ways.”

As cloud implementation started, agencies moved to secure their cloud efforts in a variety of ways. The Office of Management and Budget “decided to develop a strategy around a more consistent approach to cybersecurity in the cloud. So we launched FedRAMP,” VanRoekel said. FedRAMP (Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program) provides a standardized approach to assess the security of cloud services.

VanRoekel added that he would like to see the FedRAMP model applied to mobile computing.

“I think it’s a model that we might be able to take to other things, like mobile, and to get certification of devices,” he said. “This notion of ‘do once and use many times’ as a predictability and an efficiency mechanism is something that I am really encouraged by.”

FedRAMP became operational in June 2012, and assessments have been taking place since then. The program certified its first few vendors in recent weeks, and VanRoekel said he expects to see a steady stream of clearances, which will improve both security and procurement efficiency.

Ultimately, he said, the White House’s Digital Government Strategy seeks to deal with making federal information resources useful regardless of the device that accesses them.

According to VanRoekel, “We’re reaching an inflection point. It’s no longer about, are you carrying a mobile device or are you using a computer; it’s about what size screen are you accessing resources on. We’re taking an approach that says everything will wind up being mobile in some way.”

To read more about the federal Digital Government Strategy from Federal CIO Steven VanRoekel, see his recent blog post on

<p><a href="">Steven VanRoekel</a></p>