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30 May 2018

EO 13800 and Updates on Federal IT Modernization Efforts

By: Suzette Kent, Federal Chief Information Officer, OMB


Tag: it-modernization 2018

This Administration has placed a significant emphasis on improving the way that the Federal Government serves American Citizens and recognizes that IT Modernization is a key component to provide Americans the services they deserve. The President directed the creation of a report on the modernization of Federal IT in EO 13800. Since then, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has codified IT Modernization as a key objective in the President’s Management Agenda (PMA); the Director of the American Technology Council (ATC) has delivered the report and Federal Agencies have begun to make progress on the associated actions; the General Services Administration (GSA) has stood up IT Modernization Centers of Excellence (CoEs); and the Congress has passed the Modernizing Government Technology (MGT) Act. Collectively, these actions are the catalyst to dramatically accelerate the Federal Government’s IT Modernization efforts to improve services and the security posture of Federal IT.

The PMA sets an ambitious vision for how the Government will function more efficiently, effectively, and innovatively serve our citizens. One of the key pillars of the PMA is Modernizing Federal IT, with the Federal CIO as the overall lead for achieving improved citizen-facing services. Enhancing Federal IT and Digital Services, Reducing Cybersecurity Risks to the Federal Mission, and Building a Modern IT Workforce are key components of the PMA’s IT Modernization effort. The execution of these goals will enable the Executive Branch to build and maintain a modern, secure, and resilient IT enterprise.

The IT Modernization Report recognizes industry as a critical partner working in tandem with the Federal Government. Incorporating industry feedback into the final version of the IT Modernization Report demonstrated through action the commitment of this Administration to partner with industry. Actions called for in the IT Modernization Report directly address issues agencies have encountered in using commercially available cloud services and increasing accessibility to these solutions, while maintaining cybersecurity for the American people.

As an example, significant progress has been made with making it easier for Federal agencies to leverage commercial cloud services. The Administration established a Trusted Internet Connection (TIC) Modernization team that reviewed over 20 pilot submissions from agencies and selected candidates based on the ability to obtain data in a 90-day sprint. There are multiple pilots that began in March and will provide actionable data in June for OMB and DHS to craft agile policy and reference architecture updates based on the pilot results. These updates will enable all Federal agencies to take advantage of a streamlined process to leverage commercial cloud services.

In addition to better enabling use of commercially provided services, the IT Modernization Report set forth actions to help prioritize agency IT Modernization projects based on cybersecurity risk, and to better leverage shared services for acquisition of network and telecommunications products and services. These actions are underway, and will drive significant activity over the next two years.

GSA’s CoEs are integral to Federal agencies’ ability to successfully conduct strategic planning and implementation activities for IT Modernization. The five CoEs focus primarily on Cloud Adoption, Infrastructure Optimization, Client Experience, Service Data Analytics, and Contact Center of the Future. GSA selected the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) as the first pilot of these CoEs. The planning phase is in progress, and implementation activities with USDA begin in the summer of 2018. The CoEs will transition to support other Federal agencies by leveraging the lessons learned from USDA for application across the Federal sector.

As part of the MGT Act, OMB is working rapidly to assist Federal agencies to implement their IT Modernization plans through the Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) and the Agency IT Working Capital Funds. The Federal CIO chairs the TMF Board, consisting of a group of seven technical, acquisition, financial management, and cybersecurity leaders from across the Federal Government. The TMF Board reviews Federal agencies’ submissions for modernization projects, common solutions, and recommends funding for projects that have the greatest impact, highest probability of success, a strong execution plan, and repayment model. Additionally, OMB is working closely with participating agencies to establish IT Working Capital Funds that can provide a significant opportunity for Federal agencies to break the cycle of using end-of-year funds for support maintenance and instead replace legacy IT systems and procure modern IT equipment and services.

OMB established quarterly status reports to ensure that the strategic goals and objectives articulated in the PMA’s key components are implemented on time. Together, the prioritized goals via the PMA, implementation of actions from the Federal IT Modernization Report, assistance from the CoEs, and authorities and funding from the MGT Act all set the stage to coordinate and accelerate IT Modernization activities across the Federal Government to empower agencies to better serve their customers – the American People.