Congress

Senate appropriators go to Jared

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A pair of senators with a standing interest in improving IT acquisition is looking to Jared Kushner's new innovation team for help modernizing legacy tech.

Sens. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Tom Udall (D-N.M.), the chairman and ranking member of a key appropriations subcommittee, are asking Kushner and his White House team to help implement the IT acquisition reforms in the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act. Moran and Udall were the lead Senate sponsors of a 2013 bill that tracked very closely with FITARA, and they also pushed a cloud adoption bill that overlapped with elements of the Managing Government Technology Act in the House.

In a March 31 letter to Kushner, Moran and Udall cited oversight reports that warned of the risks inherent in using outdated and unsupported hardware and software.

"Aging federal IT systems may pose other serious security risks due to the inability to [use] data encryption, multi-factor authentication and other current security best practices," they wrote. They also warned that, "many agency [CIOs] are not actively involved as they should be in the budget planning process and efforts to drive down program costs."

Moran and Udall are looking to collaborate with Kushner and his White House team to support FITARA implementation and to "renew federal IT reform efforts to enhance the service, security and productivity of federal IT systems at the best value for American taxpayers.”

Kushner's White House Office of American Innovation is being touted as an elite task force charged with, among other things, improving federal IT and data, helping reform the Department of Veterans Affairs and jumpstarting a promised Trump administration initiative on infrastructure.

The letter from Moran and Udall is timely. At a recent House hearing, Dave Powner, director of IT management issues for the Government Accountability Office, reported that some agencies were backsliding on their progress in implementing the reforms of the FITARA legislation.

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial roles at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, New York Press, Architect Magazine and other publications.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.


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