White House details IT modernization set for 2018

A report says the White House will focus on security, enabling use of commercial cloud, and ridding of obsolete tech across government agencies.
Written by Jake Smith, Contributor
(Image: file photo)

The White House released Wednesday its final plan to modernize Federal IT beginning January 1, 2018 that will focus on security, enabling use of commercial cloud, and ridding of obsolete tech found in agencies across the federal government.

"Difficulties in agency prioritization of resources in support of IT modernization, ability to procure services quickly, and technical issues have resulted in an unwieldy and out-of-date Federal IT infrastructure incapable of operating with the agility and security that is required of a multibillion-dollar Federal IT enterprise," the White House report said.

President Donald Trump and his administration plan to move to more secure, cost effective infrastructure provided by shared services. The report said existing policies and programs will be "rapidly" updated to eliminate barriers to cloud adoption. Agencies within the federal government will be expected to migrate to the cloud where applicable.

The government will also accelerate the adoption of cloud email and collaboration tools, the report said. It plans to improve and strengthen existing shared services, and provide additional security to shared services for agencies.

The report said an unnamed cloud-based email provider will help assist in tracking government spending on cloud-based email migration (via Reuters).

As for security, the report details a plan to bolster security for the highest risk and most valuable technology.

President Trump in April signed an order to overhaul the federal government technology infrastructure. In June, President Trump met with CEOs of major technology companies to get their advice on the overhaul. The White House also opened a three week public discussion period for feedback.

In the past, agencies have been able to make IT purchases on their own. A "lack of common standards and lack of coordination drives costly redundancies and inefficiencies."

In a defense bill signed by President Trump on Tuesday, a provision pushing agencies to upgrade their old technology was included.

The government spends $80 billion on IT annually, according to a report from US Government Accountability Office in 2016. The report found spending was down $7.3 billion since 2010.

"Together we will unleash the creativity of the private sector to provide citizen services in a way that has never happened before," Jared Kushner, leader of President Trump's American Technology Council, said in June. "We will foster a new set of startups focused on gov-tech and be a global leader in the field, making government more transparent and responsive to citizens' needs."

The government has been subject to big time security breaches, including in 2016, when the attackers stole personnel files of 4.2 million former and current government employees and security clearance background investigative information on 21.5 million people from the Office of Personnel Management.

A former NSA chief said in February that President Trump is "the president our nation needs" on cybersecurity.

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