White House Takes Next Step Toward Federal IT Overhaul

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Federal ITThe White House issued a report on Wednesday outlining how it plans to overhaul the government’s outdated IT infrastructure and asked commercial IT firms to issue feedback by Sept. 20.

The Trump Administration’s American Technology Council and the Office of Science and Technology posted the report that emphasizes the White House’s intention to lean on currently available commercial technology to execute the overhaul.

While President Trump has faced a significant level of controversy, especially with his comments regarding Charlottesville, the need to upgrade the government’s digital backbone has received mostly bipartisan support.

The White House didn’t put the plan together alone. It was developed with the help of experts picked by the Administrator of General Services Administration (GSA), the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and the Secretary of Commerce (Commerce).

The modernization plan was broken into two major initiatives: “Network modernization and consolidation,” and “shared services to enable future network architectures.” White House officials broke down the two initiatives further in the report:

Network Modernization and Consolidation

  • Prioritize the Modernization of High-Risk High Value Assets (HVAs). Prioritize modernization of legacy IT by focusing on enhancement of security and privacy controls for those assets that are essential for Federal agencies to serve the American people and whose security posture is most vulnerable.
  • Modernize the Trusted Internet Connections (TIC) and National Cybersecurity Protection System (NCPS) Program to Enable Cloud Migration. Use real world implementation test cases to identify solutions to current barriers regarding agency cloud adoption. Update relevant network security policies and architectures to enable agencies to focus on both network and data-level security and privacy, while ensuring incident detection and prevention capabilities are modernized to address the latest threats.
  • Consolidate Network Acquisitions and Management. Consolidate and standardize network and security service acquisition to take full advantage of economies of scale, while minimizing duplicative investments in existing security capabilities.

Shared Services to Enable Future Network Architectures

  • Enable use of Commercial Cloud. Improve contract vehicles to enable agencies to acquire commercial cloud products that meet Government standards.
  • Accelerate Adoption of Cloud Email and Collaboration Tools. Provide support for migration to cloud email and collaboration suites that leverage the Government’s buying power. Define the next set of agencies to migrate to commercial email and collaboration suites.
  • Improve Existing and Provide Additional Security Shared Services. Provide centralized capabilities that replace or augment existing agency-specific technology to improve both visibility and security.

Leaders of the agencies made it clear in the report that they understand they can’t use traditional acquisition methods to keep up with the pace of technology. In fact, the report makes mention of assembling an Acquisition Tiger Team in the first 90 days “charged with drafting and disseminating a ‘quick start’ acquisition package that can help agencies facilitate rapid license and migration service acquisitions,” according to the report.

The full report can be read here.

The questions the American Technology Council listed in the report are:

  1. What are major attributes that are missing from the targeted vision? (Appendix A, Appendix B)
  2. What are major attributes that should not be included in the targeted vision? (Appendix A, Appendix B)
  3. Are there any missing or extraneous tasks in the plan for implementing network modernization & consolidation?
  4. Are there any missing or extraneous tasks in the plan for implementing shared services to enable future network architectures?
  5. What is the feasibility of the proposed acquisition pilot?

Comments should be submitted via this web form (GitHub account required) or sent to: it_mod@ostp.eop.gov.

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