May 02 2017

Trump Administration Aims to Modernize Federal IT

The White House's new American Technology Council will “coordinate the vision, strategy and direction” of IT across government.

The Trump administration is signaling it is serious about modernizing federal IT.

On Monday, the White House announced, via an executive order, the creation of the American Technology Council, or ATC. The purpose of the ATC is to "coordinate the vision, strategy, and direction" for the federal government's use of IT and the delivery of digital services. Additionally, the ATC is supposed to "coordinate advice to the president related to policy decisions and processes regarding" the government's use of IT, the group will work to ensure that these decisions and processes are consistent with the goal of promoting the secure, efficient, and economical use of technology. 

The ATC is a 19-member council that will be chaired by officially chaired by President Trump, though its director will be Chris Liddell, the White House director of strategic initiatives, according to reports from Axios and Recode. Liddell is a former CFO of both Microsoft and General Motors. Reed Cordish, the assistant to the president for intragovernmental and technology initiatives, will also be a member of the ATC. 

As Federal News Radio notes, the Trump administration already created the Office of American Innovation in late March "to bring in private sector expertise to help the government tackle tough technology problems." It's not clear what the differences will be between the OAI and the ATC. According to both Recode and Axios, the White House has invited leading technology executives to a summit in June to discuss ways to modernize government IT. 

In addition to the president and vice president, the ATC includes the federal CIO, the federal chief technology officer, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, the commissioner of the Technology Transformation Service at the General Services Administration, the administrator of the U.S. Digital Service and the secretaries of Defense, Homeland Security and Commerce and the Director of National Intelligence. Trump has not yet named a new permanent federal CIO or CTO.

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