Secret Service doesn't keep IT needs secret

Plans developing for multiphased IT modernization program

The normally hush-hush Secret Service recently went public with details about plans to modernize its aging information technology infrastructure, giving industry and analysts an early look at the service’s IT future.

A path forward

The Secret Service plans to accomplish its Information Integration and Transformation project in four increments, with each one tackling a different part of the problem.

  • Block 1: Modernize IT infrastructure, focusing on database architecture and cybersecurity projects.
  • Block 2: Develop a communication environment for voice and data interoperability.
  • Block 3: Bolster secure information access controls.
  • Block 4: Improve IT capabilities associated with the service’s protective and investigative intelligence operations.

Earlier this month, the Secret Service asked industry for a 10-page technical concept paper to help finalize procurement plans for the multiphased modernization program’s first phase. That first increment will primarily include IT infrastructure modernization, database architecture and maintenance, and cybersecurity. The service said the work will serve as a foundation for subsequent phases.

In a request for information, the Secret Service provided details about its outdated IT and how it hopes the modernization project will improve things. Meanwhile, the service plans to release a request for proposals that includes schedule and cost information for the first increment of the overall modernization program, named Information Integration and Transformation, by mid-January, officials said.

Karen Evans, former administrator of e-government and IT at the Office of Management and Budget, said the service should be commended for outlining its IT goals.

“I think this is great that this is out there because the whole purpose behind an RFI is to get what industry can do for you,” said Evans, now a partner at KE&T Partners. “As a project manager, this is very exciting that an agency would do this for a major IT infrastructure overhaul.”

The service’s needs and modernization plans are extensive, according to the RFI. “The existing IT infrastructure is outdated, beyond life cycle, and at risk of failing,” the service said.

Jonathan Eunice, founder of IT advisory firm Illuminata, said a phased approach to such a project is sound, especially when upgrading from old systems. He also approved of the service’s desire for virtualization and multivendor participation.

Meanwhile, Evans said the service’s IT needs are probably common across the government. She added that when making upgrades, agencies get better solutions when they make more information available.

“If you don’t tell people exactly what you have, then it’s real difficult for you to ascertain what the true cost is going to be to do the upgrades and do the migrations,” Evans said.

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

The Fed 100

Read the profiles of all this year's winners.


  • Then-presidential candidate Donald Trump at a 2016 campaign event. Image: Shutterstock

    'Buy American' order puts procurement in the spotlight

    Some IT contractors are worried that the "buy American" executive order from President Trump could squeeze key innovators out of the market.

  • OMB chief Mick Mulvaney, shown here in as a member of Congress in 2013. (Photo credit Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

    White House taps old policies for new government makeover

    New guidance from OMB advises agencies to use shared services, GWACs and federal schedules for acquisition, and to leverage IT wherever possible in restructuring plans.

  • Shutterstock image (by Everett Historical): aerial of the Pentagon.

    What DOD's next CIO will have to deal with

    It could be months before the Defense Department has a new CIO, and he or she will face a host of organizational and operational challenges from Day One

  • USAF Gen. John Hyten

    General: Cyber Command needs new platform before NSA split

    U.S. Cyber Command should be elevated to a full combatant command as soon as possible, the head of Strategic Command told Congress, but it cannot be separated from the NSA until it has its own cyber platform.

  • Image from Shutterstock.

    DLA goes virtual

    The Defense Logistics Agency is in the midst of an ambitious campaign to eliminate its IT infrastructure and transition to using exclusively shared, hosted and virtual services.

  • Fed 100 logo

    The 2017 Federal 100

    The women and men who make up this year's Fed 100 are proof positive of what one person can make possibile in federal IT. Read on to learn more about each and every winner's accomplishments.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group