White House's IT policy deadline looms

Matt Lira, shown here speaking at FCW's Sept. 13, 2017, digital government event (Photo: FCW) 

The White House will be collecting comments for a few more days on its draft presidential report on IT modernization that was released Aug. 31. Once a final version is approved by President Donald Trump, the clock will start ticking on dozens of deadlines associated with the tasks called for in the report.

Matt Lira, a presidential advisor on tech issues and a leader in the White House Office of American Innovation, said that the request for comments wasn't "just window dressing."

"We're looking for substantive industry and public feedback," Lira said at a Sept. 13 industry event hosted by FCW.

In draft form, the report has 44 recommendations, and all but seven of these have hard deadlines ranging from 30 days to one year.

The draft calls for new policies to protect high value assets from intrusion, inventories of ongoing cloud migration projects, the development network consolidation strategies, more consistent contract requirement for federal agency cloud deals and plans to introduce new levels of interoperability to shared services and cybersecurity services across agencies.

Lira said the implementation of these recommendations will be managed by traditional business owners, whether agency CIOs or procurement officials or the federal CIO shop at the Office of Management and Budget.

The American Technology Council, which is coordinating the report, is responsible for "general corralling of making sure those actors are delivering on their mission areas," Lira explained.

As of this writing, 11 comments have been posted to a Github repository. The IT Alliance for Public Sector, a leading trade group in the government contracting space, submitted 87 pages of comments on the draft report on behalf of its members. The Professional Services Council also plans to submit comments on the report.

At the event, Lira said one key goal of modernization efforts was to "get beyond surface-level redesign."

"We really are hoping for the CIO Council and agencies to take a hard look at systems," to improve both agency operation and security, he added.

In an interview after the event, Lira said he was looking for the federal government to embrace the transformation in the private sector to move technology "from a support function to the center of the business model."

Lira also said he was "optimistic" about the prospect of passing the Modernizing Government Technology Act, to create central and agency-based funds to support upgrading legacy technology systems and their migration to commercial managed services.

FCW editor-in-chief Troy Schneider contributed reporting to this story

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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