How federal CIOs will navigate the presidential transition

As the federal IT community braces for new administration, experts see new IT initiatives on hold, but have hopes for acquisition reform and modernization efforts.

By Kenneth Corbin
Nov. 8, 2016

"From a technological perspective, we don't think the government's processes fit the reality on the ground, and we think it's time to revisit those," he says. "Most of the agencies are behind -- and some of them very far behind -- the commercial marketplace and, even some elements of the public sector," such as state and local agencies.

For all the reforms from FITARA and those that Scott and other members of the Obama administration have undertaken, there is general agreement that much more needs to be done to improve the government's use of technology. Obama has called for a $3.1 billion IT modernization fund that would provide a mechanism to facilitate agency efforts to update their legacy systems. The Modernizing Government Technology Act, which has passed the House and awaits consideration in the Senate, offers an alternative funding approach to the same end.

Spires says that he welcomes efforts to give agency CIOs more maneuvering room in their budgets, in particular proposals to untether agencies from one-year funding cycles. Longer funding lead times, along with greater continuity in the ranks of the CIOs themselves, could help agencies move more effectively on long-overdue IT reform efforts.

"I am a big believer in having this funding flexibility, so that you've got that kind of idea of three-year money that gives the organization more flexibility over doing this IT modernization," Spires says. "The amount of duplication that we have in systems is staggering in the federal government, even within agencies."

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