Forge.mil could be replicated for civilian agencies

DISA’s collaborative environment is the model for new GSA-led effort

Federal agencies could soon be able to use the same high-tech tools for collaboration and information sharing that have worked for the military, a senior General Services Administration official said today.

David McClure, GSA associate administrator, said his organization wants to use the Defense Information Systems Agency’s forge.mil project governmentwide. The secured computing environment built for cooperative software development, project management and information sharing is currently available only to the military.


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“It’s time to create a forge.gov,” McClure said. Basic services "would be available to federal agencies for free. It would provide no-cost development and code repository support for open-source applications.”

The proposed forge.gov basic services would include software development, code repository, testing, certification and help moving completed applications to the cloud, McClure said. He also said internal development is underway and the project could possibly be hosted on forge.mil, at least at first.

McClure stressed that the plan is still being vetted and there is no timeline in place yet.

The forge.gov plans are part of broader GSA-led efforts in developing information technology solutions for federal agencies that increase efficiency and engagement with the public.

“We’re trying to change the culture of government so the thought process is to engage. It’s not an add-on, it’s how we do business now,” McClure said. “There’s a lot of value in allowing citizens to feel like they actually are engaging with the government,” including the increase in ideas brought to the table, he added.

McClure, speaking at an Input event in Falls Church, Va., outlined GSA’s plans under the federal cloud computing initiative (FCCI), including several major program activities that are set for implementation. Among them:

  • The Apps.gov 2.0, an online storefront to allow for procurement of cloud computing and software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions for government.
  • Info.apps.gov, a Web site with information and news regarding FCCI, including a best-practice discussion.
  • Interagency working groups to develop standards, set policies and agree to the overall vision for the FCCI.
  • Infrastructure as a service, for which GSA has released a request for quotes. The project is envisioned to serve as the foundation for federal cloud computing services, McClure said. Bids are due July 5.
  • The Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) that features security requirement authorities, a FedRAMP office that oversees program management and continuous security monitoring and a multi-agency joint authorization board.
  • Data center consolidation, including guidance for meeting federal standards.
  • SaaS e-mail, for which the GSA cloud computing program management office has formed a working group to define requirements for the federal government.
  • A geospatial platform, which GSA is examining for sharing data and developing applications governmentwide for geospatial purposes.

McClure said cooperation among federal agencies is necessary to getting these projects moving. “This can’t be done through a single office,” McClure said. “It’s a challenging, but robust implementation environment.”

About the Author

Amber Corrin is a former staff writer for FCW and Defense Systems.

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Reader comments

Wed, Jun 30, 2010 Mike Moxcey

The military has 4 or 5 different branches but has one mission. The 100 civilian Agencies have 100 different missions. Sharing software doesn't change anything. Software correctly designed to satisfy the needs of one mission will not correctly satisfy the needs of other missions. COTS is probably better for civilian Agencies and Programs. (They need better analysis and fewer obnoxious or inane managers, not common software).

Fri, Jun 25, 2010 Kevin Dayton

We also need a Download.gov to distro GOTS products.

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