Sep 01 2017

White House Lays Out IT Modernization Vision

The report from the American Technology Council emphasizes the importance of cloud and shared services.

The White House on Aug. 30 issued a report that spells out its plan to modernize federal IT systems. The report heavily emphasizes the importance of cloud and shared IT services

The report was issued by the American Technology Council (ATC), which President Donald Trump established in May to "coordinate the vision, strategy, and direction" for the federal government's use of IT and the delivery of digital services.

In a White House blog post, ATC Director Chris Liddell and Jack Wilmer, senior policy advisor with the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy, note that they had two goals in developing the report, which the president ordered via his cybersecurity executive order in May. The first is to create "a vision for the future of Federal IT that maximizes secure use of the best commercial technology available," and second is to "define a plan to jumpstart the government’s transition to that vision."

To get there, the report notes, the administration needs to "enable more rapid delivery of new capabilities to the American public, to increase the cybersecurity of our systems, and to enable us to operate our IT in a much more cost effective manner." Once that vision was defined, ATC asked government and industry experts to develop a plan to "accelerate the government’s transition to that end-state." Lidell and Wilmer say the plan mitigates budgetary constraints, procurement problems, and outdated policy and technical guidance problems that plagued similar efforts in the past, and that the plan "provides initial implementation targets to ensure that the challenges were sufficiently addressed."

Most importantly, they say, "the team laid out an agile process which will enable us to iteratively update policy and technical guidance as additional impediments are identified."

Indeed, as FCW reports, "unlike many White House policy reports, the document is heavy on deliverables in the next two-12 months from agencies tasked with oversight of some key areas for IT modernization across government." For example, FCW notes that "the plan calls for federal agencies to detail in-process and planned cloud migration projects within 30 days" and then initiates a 30-day government review process to prioritize the projects for cloud migration.  

And, as FedScoop reports, on shared services, the report calls for greater use of commercial cloud services, especially for email and collaboration, and for centralized security capabilities that replace or augment existing agency-specific technologies. 



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