How Agencies Plan to Upgrade Legacy Technologies
In response to Hassan’s letters, the departments of Defense, Education, Transportation and Homeland Security responded with their plans, as did the Small Business and Social Security administrations. Additionally, OPM sent prepared testimony from the Aug. 3 FITARA scorecard hearing in response.
In regard to the systems the GAO identified, the Education Department said it plans to release a new solicitation this fall to modernize the Federal Student Aid system, according to Federal News Network. The system is 46 years old, and the GAO considers it a high risk to mission and cybersecurity. The agency plans to release an updated system by October 2022.
Similarly, the Pentagon told Hassan that in June the Air Force had finished updating legacy systems responsible for the management of supplies and equipment for warfighting missions.
And the Transportation Department said it will replace System 7, a Federal Aviation Administration registration solution whose name is undisclosed for security reasons, by 2022, according to Nextgov.
Agencies addressed concerns beyond replacing legacy IT systems and also detailed forward-looking plans. For example, DHS laid out its top five IT modernization initiatives, Federal News Network reports.
Those include a phased approach to network modernization through fiscal year 2023, an exit from one its main data centers in the first quarter of 2021 and data center consolidation and optimization in 2021. DHS also plans to pursue an optimization of its security operations centers through 2024 and plans to use the Cybersecurity Talent Management System to recruit cybersecurity workers to support security operation center optimization in 2021.
The DOD detailed its plan to shift to the cloud. “We expect cost to shift from legacy hosting and data center models to modern cloud based digital infrastructure, with a target of 9% of total IT spending dedicated to cloud services by FY2025, up from 3% in 2022,” DOD CIO Dana Deasy wrote in his letter.
Over the next few years, the Pentagon is also working on updates to systems to provide “enterprisewide automated patching and endpoint monitoring” capabilities to “enable the provisioning of trusted patches in a timely manner, enhance situational awareness, and provide improved visibility tools.”
The Education, Homeland Security and Defense departments also mentioned the need for Congress to authorize working capital funds to help them upgrade IT.