Trump budget pushes IT modernization

OMB Director Mick Mulvaney at the Government Publishing Office prior to the release of administration's budget for FY2018

OMB Director Mick Mulvaney, shown here at the Government Publishing Office on May 19, has been the primary administration spokesperson for President Donald Trump's FY2018 budget.

It's barely a rounding error in President Donald Trump's $4.1 trillion federal budget proposal unveiled on May 23, but there is $228 million set aside for an IT modernization fund to be housed at the General Services Administration.

The revolving fund aligns with efforts in Congress to pass the Modernizing Government Technology Act, which the budget calls out and indicates is "moving in parallel" with the president's budget.

The $228 million fund is envisioned as "a long-term, self-sustaining mechanism for Federal agencies to regularly refresh outdated networks and systems with the newest technologies and security capabilities." Agencies pay back into the fund with savings enjoyed from transitions to modernized and managed services.

Overall, the budget proposes a slight uptick in IT spending governmentwide, to $95.68 billion in FY2018 over $94.09 billion in FY2017. Drilling down into those numbers, most of the increase goes to defense IT, while the proposed civilian spend shrinks by $82 million, despite the revolving fund at GSA.

The Trump administration is taking its cues from administrative changes in IT procurement developed under President Barack Obama. The U.S Digital Service at the Office of Management and Budget and the Technology Transformation Service at GSA are maintained, and the administration is looking to "accelerate" recruitment for USDS.

Efforts to leverage the government's buying power in IT through category management are continuing. In 2018, the government is looking to reduce contract duplication in IT and services and push governmentwide standards for common lines of business as a means of getting programs ready for migration to shared services.

"We're going to adopt shared services on a scale that we've never done before," said Acting Federal CIO Margie Graves at the ACT-IAC Management of Change conference on May 22. "Therefore, we have to send a demand signal to the market."

Additionally, the budget requires agencies "to identify and budget for the modernization of specific high-risk legacy IT systems, with a particular focus on transitioning these systems to cloud and shared services," and urges agencies to move to cloud-based collaboration tools and email systems.

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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