Tech officials huddle to implement new data laws

Data analytics 

As the President's Management Agenda turns a year old, federal agency IT leaders are considering how data legislation passed just after the partial federal shutdown will impact their modernization efforts under the PMA.

"We saw a flurry of legislation passed at the end of the last Congress that that are relevant to our community," said Margie Graves, federal deputy CIO at the Office of Management and Budget. In remarks at an FCW IT modernization event March 21, Graves said she planned a "listening session" at the General Services Administration on the new laws that afternoon.

The session, she said, will bring together agency CIOs, chief data officers and chief information security officers  to go over the legislation and get feedback on challenges with implementing it.

She advised industry attendees at the morning FCW event to "keep their ear to the ground because there will be some information coming back from your [federal agency] customers after this listening session."

Using data as a strategic asset and squeezing value from it is a PMA pillar that agencies are just getting their heads around, Graves said.

Officials will consider the impact of the Foundations for Evidence-based Policymaking Act, the Geospatial Data Act of 2018, the 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act and a February executive order on artificial intelligence.

The Foundations for Evidence-based Policymaking Act provides guidelines on how agencies should collect and analyze data to promote effective and efficient policymaking across programs and organizations. It also requires agencies to designate a chief data officer.

The Geospatial Data Act of 2018, signed into law last October, promotes the use of location information.

The IDEA Act is intended to make government websites more user friendly and improve their operations with digitized forms, electronic signatures and self-service capabilities. Under the law, agencies have until June to report back to Congress and OMB with plans on how they plan to implement electronic signatures and until December to report on priorities on websites and digital services that need modernization.

"We're going through our ideation of how we're going to implement those requirements," Graves told FCW. "They're recent requirements that came out of legislation that we have to determine how it works with transformation and modernization."

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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