Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, introduced the Modernizing Government Technology Act last year, but Congress never took up the bill. Hurd wants to reintroduce the bill, and House Subcommittee on Information Technology, which he chairs, recently held a hearing on government IT modernization.
Hurd argues that information technology within the federal government is outdated. The federal government spends approximately $80 billion annually on information technology, and about 75% is spent maintaining outdated systems. Hurd wants to update the way the country manages and acquires information technology.
“Reforming our acquisition system so the federal government can properly adopt a ‘buy, not build approach’ will result in cost-savings, technological advancement and improved security for our federal systems,” Hurd said.
The hearing brought out three major ways that the federal government can work to improve information technology — creating universal standards for inventorying, giving chief information officers more authority and passing Hurd’s bill.
Trey Hodgkins, senior vice president of the Information Technology Alliance for Public Sector, said a solid cataloging of the federal government’s IT will help the government better understand where problems and vulnerabilities exist.
“The challenge you have is that different agencies treat those requirements in different ways,” he said. “We saw this with data center consolidation. The first rollout defined a data center as X, Y and Z. Agencies worked to make sure their data center didn’t fit in that metric.
David Powner, director of IT management issues at the Government Accountability Office, said chief information officers with the federal government need more power to get the federal government out of a bad information technology project. According to a recent survey, only eight of the 24 CIOs felt they currently possess that authority.
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