Mar 14 2023

The Work of Government Calls for Continuous Improvement

In technology, especially, new capabilities can create new problems and challenges that federal agency IT professionals must solve.

One of the defining features of government is that the work is never actually done, a reality that brings both challenges and opportunities. In practice, that means that much of the work of federal agencies comes down to solving the most pressing problems of today while attempting to head off the problems of tomorrow.

This mission might apply doubly to federal government IT professionals. The ripple effects of technology often mean that even when the latest and greatest solution comes along and neatly solves one problem, it creates other issues. Then, we have to come up with new solutions, and the cycle continues.

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Solving Problems with Technological Success

The need for a stronger cybersecurity workforce at the federal level is a perfect example. Technology has transformed the way agencies work, and now there’s a new problem to solve: training and hiring professionals who can do that work and have the skills for newer technologies that are emerging quickly, such as artificial intelligence. Our feature “Federal Agencies Ramp Up Their Cyber Hiring Efforts” highlights some of the strategies agencies are using to try to solve this dilemma.

Agencies are also working to tighten security on software supply chains, a crucial endeavor given the significant impact that a single vulnerability can cause. The National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency and the National Security Agency have developed new guidance to help agencies secure their software supply chains (See Keep Software Supply Chains Secure With New Federal Guidance).

The commitment to continuous improvement should also include, where warranted, an effort to acknowledge successes, even when there is still more work to be done. In that spirit, we share interviews with three women who are at the top of their game as IT leaders of key federal agencies: Sheena Burrell, CIO of the National Archives and Records Administration; La’Naia Jones, CIO of the Central Intelligence Agency; and U.S. CIO Clare Martorana, who leads the Office of the Federal CIO within the Office of Management and Budget (See CIO Panel Discussion: The Importance of a Diverse Federal IT Workforce). As the federal government continues the important work of increasing diversity in leadership, these women provide a valuable perspective on why that’s critical.

The work of government often seems to be two steps forward and one step back, but what matters most is that the momentum continues: moving agencies forward so they can tackle new problems and achieve new goals.

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