Procurement chief tees up potential changes in CSP-government relations

cloud data (CoreDESIGN/ 

The recently installed federal procurement chief said he's looking to expand data sharing among cloud service providers across government.

"Cloud service providers contract with individual agencies, not the entire federal government, and are reluctant to share agencies' information with the federal CIO or federal [chief information security officer]," Michael Wooten, administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, said in a Sept. 17 FedInsider talk. "That's not optimal," he said.

The federal government and cloud providers must be partners in managing data across an ever-more diffuse federal/industry environment, according to Wooten.

"We often use the analogy of each agency being a tenant in a condo data center. What we lack is a tenants' association" to set rules and requirements among tenants, he said.

"The landlord has a responsibility to keep the condo safe from intrusion, and the tenant should be able to alert other tenants when they see a threat. We need to clarify the responsibility of each tenant and the landlord for the federal government," he said.

Wooten, who has been on the job for roughly a month and a half after being confirmed by the Senate, told FCW after his presentation at the FedInsider event that he is getting up to speed on how the interactions among industry and federal agencies will proceed.

Wooten said his remarks about the developing relationship between cloud providers and federal agencies was "a snapshot of what we can see, but as a prescription for what we should do, I'm going to defer to the CIO." He added: "I can say from a business perspective, there is opportunity there. Doesn't mean we have to go there."

Wooten's remarks on cloud expand on comments he made at Sept. 16 event hosted by the Professional Services Council, a trade group representing federal contractors.

At that event, Wooten said that using technology to unlock innovation to mine the federal government’s vast "treasure trove" of accumulated data was one of his goals.

Wooten's boss is Margaret Weichert, deputy director of management at the Office of Management and Budget. At the PSC event, Weichert said that she'll be paying more attention to new acquisition practices and the details of effective IT modernization in the coming year.

"One of the areas I’m really focused on is on is architecture, both IT architecture and data architecture," Weichert said. "We need to think very clearly about what's inherently governmental. We need to create incentives for people to play general contracting roles that allow the federal government to co-create with private industry and allow the federal government to retain control of platforms," she said.

That doesn't include all of the work that’s done by contractors on IT platforms, she explained, but it does include the thinking that goes into creating object-oriented, flexible, modern platforms.

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 [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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