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Federal IT modernization initiative aims for the clouds

Noting that Federal agencies are still working to meet the objectives of other critical modernization initiatives, the report outlines the current and envisioned state of Federal IT, including a number of specific recommendations.

Jeff Rowe | Dec 22, 2017 12:00 am

The opportunity to streamline operations and increase IT efficiency by moving to the cloud has become so attractive that even the federal government is planning to do it.

That’s according to a recently released report to the White House which lays out the IT modernization steps taken to date across federal agencies, as well as how, being Jan. 1, 2018, the government will move into more secure, cost-effective infrastructure via shared services and commercial capabilities. Along the way, the report says, current programs and policies will be rapidly updated to eliminate any barriers to cloud adoption.

“Hardworking Americans have built the world’s largest economy and solved some of the world’s greatest challenges through innovations in science and technology,” the report says. “It is imperative for the Federal Government to leverage these innovations to provide better service for its citizens in the most cost-effective and secure manner. This Administration has prioritized modernization of Federal information technology (IT) systems, and to that end, has committed to help agencies better leverage American innovations through increased use of commercial technology.”

Federal agencies are expected to move to the cloud when a move makes sense, and officials to accelerate implementation of cloud email and collaboration tools while improving existing shared services and providing additional security to those shared services.

Agencies will assess the risk of the existing technology to “prioritize resources on protecting the most important systems and information,” said the report, adding,  “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support of IT modernization, ability to procure services quickly and technical issues have resulted in an unwieldy and out-of-date federal IT infrastructure incapable of operating with the agility and security that is required of a multibillion-dollar federal IT enterprise.”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 actions articulated in the report will compliment agency efforts to modernize citizen-facing services by moving to a more secure, agile and cost-effective infrastructure,” White House American Technology Council Director Chris Liddell and Office of Science and Technology Policy Senior Policy Advisor Jack Wilmer said in a statement.