Hillary Clinton's technology and innovation initiative pledges a more modern and open digital government. The policy plan also supports the creation of more STEM jobs and increased internet access.
A legislative assistant for Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas), one of the key players on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said members are warming to the administration's idea to develop a $3.1 billion IT Modernization Fund. But he said some members of Congress are debating other alternatives to the fund.
Commerce Department CIO Steven Cooper says he'd like to see more flexibility when it comes to acquisition and collaboration with industry. One way to get it, he says, is through added language in the IT Modernization Fund.
Keith Trippie, the CEO of The Trippie Group LLC and a public sector board member of Acquia, says agencies should follow the lead of dating, travel and insurance companies and have an “easy” button for system modernization.
The 8½ inch floppy disk held up at the recent House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing was good theater, but it doesn’t tell the entire story of the state of old technology in the government.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is particularly concerned by a penetration test the Homeland Security Department performed on the Social Security Administration's IT systems last summer, when testers gained access to personally identifiable information while they were inside. SSA did not share the findings of that report with its inspector general.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said he was warming up to the idea of the fund, but wants assurances that the money will be spent wisely and receive a return on investment.
Federal CIO Tony Scott said new data from government contractors shows billions of dollars are going to maintain hardware and software that either is no longer supported by the manufacturer or will no longer be supported in the next three years.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold a hearing May 25 on legacy IT systems where Federal CIO Tony Scott will have maybe the administration’s best chance to make its case for Congress to support the IT Modernization Fund.
Both agencies are using different portfolio management approaches to better oversee and control spending on commodity technology.
Cybersecurity experts say the government needs to address gaps in its IT systems and workforce to strengthen its defenses against data breaches, threats that are now a part of everyday federal operations.
For too long, the budget and appropriations process hampered agencies and their ability to buy and modernize legacy IT systems, Federal CIO Tony Scott said. The Office of Management and Budget is submitting its proposal to Congress for a $3.1 billion IT modernization fund.
The White House sent its legislative proposal to Capitol Hill and Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) plans on introducing legislation based on that proposal this week.
The Office of Management and Budget is developing an IT modernization policy for civilian agencies that would require them to do a majority of the up-front planning to prepare for the funding should Congress approve the initiative.