Deputy federal CIO outlines future priorities

Security, procurement and management initiatives top the Obama administration's goals for federal IT.

schlosser presentation

Speaking via Skype, Deputy U.S. CIO Lisa Schlosser discusses the administration's IT priorities. (FCW photo by Troy K. Schneider)

With Federal CIO Steven VanRoekel called away on White House business, Deputy CIO Lisa Schlosser stepped in to talk about federal IT priorities via Skype at the ACT-IAC Management of Change 2013 conference in Cambridge, Md.

Her message, similar to those VanRoekel has delivered recently, centered on increased innovation, improved cyber and information security, a CIO Council-led effort to implement continuous monitoring in the federal space, and cost-cutting measures such as strategic sourcing and shared services.

Schlosser said the Office of Management and Budget wants agencies to move toward increased headquarters-based authorities to take advantage of commodity IT services while reducing duplication. Savings, she said, can be reinvested in mission-driven initiatives and innovation, which the government would like to incorporate in "every single thing we do."

"That is the ideal state," Schlosser said. "We want to move toward models where headquarter levels have authority to run commodity priorities, so they can take advantage of commodity services and find savings in commodity IT. Agencies can then use those savings to invest in better opportunities. We want to take advantage of economies of scale so we can invest more in mission capabilities."

Schlosser also discussed the PortfolioStat initiative's successes thus far -- which include $2.5 billion in savings identified through "face-to-face, evidence-based review" of entire agency portfolios -- and signaled where its next version, PortfolioStat 2.0, is headed. The revamped PortfolioStat encompasses the OMB-driven Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative, though Schlosser said OMB's focus has shifted from consolidation to optimization.

The shift comes after the Government Accountability Office and members of Congress criticized OMB for not tracking cost savings and relevant metrics in data center consolidation.

"We want to capitalize on virtualization, not just cost savings," Schlosser said.

She added that first-year deliverables for the Obama administration’s Digital Government Strategy will be released soon and said officials will continue to push for continuous monitoring of federal IT systems in the next few years. The government's efforts thus far in that arena, led by the Department of Homeland Security and the CIO Council, will be highlighted in a soon-to-be-published document.

"You're going to see a very big focus in the next two to three years on implementing and moving government from paper-based security monitoring to a continuous monitoring model," Schlosser said. "We must be proactive in our threat detection."

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