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Congress Finally Tackles IT?

Washington, D.C. Tech
Congress Finally Tackles IT?

Consider the stats: federal agencies spend nearly half of IT budgets to maintain failing systems; the Air Force recently announced it would shut down a logistics system that it already spent $1B to build; and over 600 separate human resource systems were funded by the government in 2011. It's the kind of numbers that inspired tough questions from the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee yesterday.


Federal CIO Steven VanRoekel and a handful of government and private sector reps were called to testify on why there's so much waste in federal IT spending. One explanation: the government hasn't quite reached that inflection point where agencies realize that tech can be part of a strategic mission rather than just another budget line item. "That, coupled with cost pressure, cybersecurity pressure, and citizen expectations, will drive different behavior," he says. The growth of cloud, mobile, data, and social media has created a powerful demand for government services. Steven described how he's trying to get more tech conversations across government agencies to get ideas and changes underway. But he acknowledged some resistance to change from the federal workforce.


Because cybersecurity is not just a single line item, but something that touches a lot of IT like mobile devices, desktops, and servers, it could be affected as agencies look at the entire landscape for sequestration cuts. Steven added that flexibility and continuous monitoring in cybersecurity are needed and pointed to a shared services model being implemented this year for federal, state, local, and tribal agencies. We'll have lots more from the four-hour hearing in tomorrow's Tech Bisnow.

Related Topics: House Oversight