WASHINGTON— Today the technology industry released sweeping recommendations to the White House on steps the U.S. government can take to modernize its aging and vulnerable federal information technology (IT) systems. Developed by a group of industry experts convened by tech trade group ITI’s public sector division ITAPS, the proposals are aimed at strengthening U.S. cybersecurity and national security, attracting talented IT workers needed at federal agencies, enhancing government services, and improving federal efficiency. They were developed after a meeting between tech CEOs and White House officials in June.
"The U.S. government is trapped in a dangerous dependence on outdated technology that diminishes its abilities and leaves it vulnerable to attack," said Senior Vice President for Public Sector Trey Hodgkins, who noted that government IT modernization is an issue that enjoys strong bipartisan support in Congress and now from the Obama Administration into the Trump Administration. “The federal government spends a substantial majority of its $80 billion IT budget maintaining outdated computer systems when it should be adopting the latest innovations. These recommendations are a roadmap developed by tech industry experts for modernizing the government's IT systems, strengthening our national security, and enabling the government to do more for Americans while saving taxpayer's money through efficiencies technology can offer."
These recommendations for IT investment and improvement were developed by a task force comprised of over a hundred private sector experts from the ITAPS member companies convened over five weeks. Specifically, the recommendations suggest (by alphabetical order):
- Big data: Create a multi-agency governance entity to set government-wide data requirements, foster a data-driven culture, and avoid creating duplicative or ‘bad data.’ Leverage new cloud computing technologies and big data analytics and expand access to government data to drive new economic growth opportunities.
- Citizen services: Leverage technology to enhance the quality and expand the citizen services the government offers. Doing so will provide savings to the taxpayer through greater efficiencies and better services that innovation can enable.
- Cloud infrastructure: Establish an automation first goal for federal IT modernization efforts and develop a cloud strategy with a roadmap for proper planning and migration. Accelerate cloud adoption by integrating the automation of application development, operations, and security (DevSecOps).
- Cybersecurity: Strengthen cybersecurity through a comprehensive strategy to leverage people, processes, and innovation to prevent cyberattacks and reduce risks. Acquisition reform is critical to IT modernization and cybersecurity, as is closing the government's cybersecurity skills gap, instituting robust information sharing and automated scanning of the federal network environments.
- Future trends: Future proof the government so that it is not simply catching up in modernizing its IT, but jumping ahead in its adoption and use of cutting edge innovations such as 3D printing, artificial intelligence, and the adoption and deployment of 5th generation mobile networks (5G).
- Partnerships: Identify and eliminate barriers that have traditionally hobbled partnership efforts between the federal government and industry. Establish Centers of Excellence and other avenues to promote collaboration and partnership between the government and the tech sector.
- Purchasing: Maximize the use of commercial practices and products when fulfilling agency requirements and leverage the commercial sector's supply chain to maintain the nation's technological dominance. Avoid one size-fits-all approaches and use right-sized common acquisition approaches driven by mission requirements, including use of agile acquisition to promote innovation.
- Talent: Develop a vision for the public-sector workforce that emulates what is found in the private sector, including the private sectors view of talent as a lifecycle. Remove key obstacles to attracting and retaining talented individuals needed in the federal workforce by addressing impediments such as bureaucracy, perception of low impact, working environment and attractiveness.
Click here to read the full-list of recommendations.