recommended reading

Old technology—sometimes surprisingly old—still powers federal agencies but the push to update systems has never been stronger. Leaders across government aim to purchase technology in a smarter way while delivering top-notch services to citizens.

IT Modernization Bill Heads to President

November 16 Congress passes the Modernizing Government Technology Act as part of the defense authorization bill.

Agencies a Step Closer to Open Data, Chief Data Officers

November 16 The OPEN Government Data Act, tucked inside the Foundations for Evidence-based Policymaking Act, passed the House.

Lawmakers to Agencies on FITARA: Get It Together

November 16 A House oversight committee pushed IT leaders to set more ambitious upgrade goals after its fifth assessment of federal agencies’ technology.

Agency Scores Fall in Latest FITARA Scorecard

November 14 The new metric on software licensing knocked many agencies' grades down.

Watchdog: Agencies Find Old Development Habits Die Hard

November 7 Only four agencies had policies and processes in place to develop software in increments.

Farmers to Congress: We Need Broadband, Too

November 7 Agriculture and energy companies in rural areas want to find efficiencies with internet of things devices, but lack of high-speed access is a problem

Pentagon: We Want You — to Get Us Into The Cloud Much Faster

November 7 We need the private sector's help to vault DOD into the world of elastic computing and machine learning.

Army and Navy Cyber Command Ready Way Ahead of Schedule

November 3 The services reached the milestone a year ahead of schedule.

Fate of Chief Data Officers Relies on Which Data Transparency Bill Passes

November 3 Two different versions of the OPEN Government Data Act are working their way through Congress.

Astronauts Have Been Dealing With the Same Crappy Printers for 17 Years

November 3 Even people on the International Space Station deal with paper jams and ink shortages.

Federal Data Center Spending Climbing Despite Reduction Efforts

October 26 IDC predicts slow growth over the next few years.

Could FedRAMP Approvals Be Used to Buy All Government Technology?

October 26 The New Democrats Coalition pushes the government to adopt shared technology certifications and a national breach notification standard.

GSA Launches Guide for Tech-Curious Agencies

October 25 The online resource focuses on practical applications of emerging technologies.

FDA CIO: Agile Is Simply Good Business

October 23 One thing agencies need to do is get out of a reactive mode, the agency's CIO Todd Simpson said.

Survey: 42% of Feds Say Increasing Workloads Merit More Automation

October 16 More than 75 percent of respondents said they spend at least a quarter of their workday on tedious administrative tasks.

Using Technology to Aid the Opioid Crisis' Innocent Victims

October 16 Manual processes are holding back the way governments could support children and families in crisis.

5 Ways Congress Can Grow the Internet of Things

October 10 A trade association asked Congress to pass legislation that would advance connected technology in the United States.

How Microservices Can Help Build a More Responsive Government

October 10 Thinking small can make a big difference in improving citizen services.

Without Automation, There is No Federal IT Modernization

October 6 But making automation a reality will be a challenge.

The White House's Cyber Tool Wish List

October 4 Acting Federal Chief Information Security Officer Grant Schneider pushed for tools that are easy to use but can share threat info in real time.

Can the Government’s Buying Power Create a More Secure Internet of Things?

October 4 Device manufacturers still determine how they secure their gadgets, but legislation could push industry in a more secure direction, experts tell the House Oversight committee.

Senate Panel Passes FITARA Extension in Block of IT Bills

October 4 Other legislation includes a mandate for agencies to create mobile-friendly websites and to report on the security clearance backlog.

Congressman Wants U.S. to Part With Europe on Data Privacy

October 3 As the number of devices quietly gathering your data increases, so does the risk of exposure.

What CIO Vacancies Mean For Modernizing Government

October 2 A Congressman leading the tech upgrade movement says Congress should just treat acting CIOs like permanent ones.

How the FITARA Scorecard Could Impact the Future of Software Licensing

October 2 Agencies can still make moves to improve their December grades if they take these steps.

Trump Aide Says Modernizing Federal IT is Administration’s Cold War Moment

September 25 Will the government's technology challenges galvanize decision-makers as the Cold War once did?

Survey: Most CIOs Say a Majority of Their Applications Are Out of Date

September 25 About 72 percent of federal chief information officers said the majority of applications in their agencies are legacy systems, a new survey finds.

Rep. Hurd’s Solution For Tech Talent Shortage: 10 Day Tours of Duty

September 25 The Cyber National Guard could provide a constant stream of short-term talent, the lawmaker says.

The Air Force Will Dole Out $1 Billion for Cloud Migration

September 22 Dell EMC, General Dynamics and Microsoft teamed to win a big Air Force contract.

The Network of Tomorrow Can Drive Cost Savings and Better Performance

September 22 Intent-based networking may be the future of federal IT.

Trump's Tech Team Wants to ‘Wow’ Public

September 19 The Office of American Innovation isn't interested in tech for tech's sake. It's to make government more efficient.

IT Modernization Bill Clears Senate as Part of Defense Authorization Bill

September 18 The OPEN Government Data Act also advances, along with other tech and cyber goodies.

Amazon Web Services Can Now Host the Defense Department’s Most Sensitive Data

September 13 The company received provisional authority to host Impact Level 5 workloads.

House Panel Moves Bill Urging Federal Buyers to Consider Quality, Not Just Cost

September 13 Also: the House Oversight Committee approves a measure promoting social media monitoring in clearance investigations.

NSA Quietly Awarded a Classified $2.4 Billion Tech Contract With More to Come

September 12 CSRA wins the NSA’s Groundbreaker recompete to modernize portions of the intelligence community’s IT infrastructure

Lawmakers Push Again to Mandate Mobile-Friendly Federal Websites

September 11 New federal websites would have to be easy to view on smartphones and other devices, according to a Senate bill.

Federal Government Needs a Gatekeeper for Data-based Reform

September 8 The government will likely need a data-centric agency and new positions to protect privacy as it expands the use of confidential data, the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking said.

Trump’s Tech Team Shares Plans For Modernizing Government

August 31 The White House wants to know what's missing and will keep commenting open until Sept. 20.

How NOAA Plans to Improve Tracking Harvey-Like Storms

August 30 As the agency's next-gen satellites come online, it expects more accurate forecasts and increased lead time for severe weather.

Managing Change: The Key to Successful IT Modernization

August 30 To modernize, chief information officers need to think about how to manage change, not just technology.

Here’s a Cloud Guide Written by Feds for Feds. Will the White House Listen?

August 24 The interagency group has been sharing the draft to solicit further feedback and attract the White House's attention.

Feds Take Next Step In Spreading Blockchain Tech

August 23 The federal government's buying hub is hosting a workshop about integrating new technology in early September.

GSA Official: For Cloud to Mature, Talk More About Opportunity and Less About Security

August 23 Instead of "lift and shift," agencies must focus on making IT processes more efficient in the cloud.

How Apple iPhone Updates Add Value to Mail

August 11 The iOS 11 update, expected to be released in fall 2017, presents new opportunities for interacting with mail digitally.

To Improve, VA Must Acknowledge Vets Can Go Elsewhere

August 8 Thinking of veterans as customers who could take their business elsewhere could fuel agency improvements, Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin said.

Report: Don't Neglect Legacy IT While Waiting for the Cloud

August 7 Legacy systems need to be maintained even if agencies plan on migrating to cloud systems, according to a recent report.

How a Transparent Process Made Federal Spending Transparency Possible

August 2 The leaders behind DATA Act implementation share what they think made this governmentwide reform effort successful.

Bye-Bye, Networx: GSA Awards $50B Next-gen Telecom Contract

August 1 The General Services Administration selected 10 vendors for the Enterprise Infrastructure Services contract.

Pentagon Now Offering Top Officials Classified Tablets

August 1 The Defense Department's pilot program allows access to materials up to secret level.

This Agency Can Help Fast Track Your Tech Acquisitions

July 31 National Technical Information Service pairs federal agencies with vetted companies that meet their technology needs—and fast.

House Oversight Passes FITARA Backup Plan

July 19 The panel moved along a standalone bill to extend sunsetting provisions—just in case.

A Farmer-Focused Agency Wants to Ditch Data Centers Completely

July 13 "Farmers don’t care that I run a data center," an Agriculture Department chief information officer said.

How FedRAMP Keeps Getting Faster

July 12 The accreditation time frame is shrinking and GSA is working with the Office of American Innovation to speed up even more.

DATA Act: Agile's First Governmentwide Win

July 11 Governmentwide projects are particularly complicated, but here's one that ends on time and under budget.

3 Strategies for Building Successful Agile Teams

July 11 With agile, it’s all about speed, adaptability and collaboration—all for the sake of accelerated, better application development.

Think Tank Tells Trump's Office of American Innovation To Design From The Bottom Up

July 10 If it works in business, can't it work in government?

4 Things You Need to Build Your Analytics Team

July 7 Three analytic practitioners share best practices for building a successful analytics shop.

An Insider’s View of Trump’s American Technology Council Meeting

June 30 While a White House official said all the right things, Code for America Founder Jen Pahlka wanted to see more spine from tech executives.

Agencies' Grasp of Agile is ‘All Over The Map,’ One CTO Says

June 30 Developing software in an incremental fashion may mean rethinking contracting and personnel's duties, an Excella Consulting's chief technology officer said.

Is a Cabinet-Level CIO the Future of Government I.T.?

June 29 That person would lead “a legion of people” who could support the technology needs of other agencies.

Think Beyond Modernization, Tech Execs Told Trump

June 20 Silicon Valley bigwigs discussed machine learning, open data and the need for government spending on research.

Paying Bills, Reducing Spam and Other Ways the World's Postal Services Are Disrupting Mail

June 19 Singapore, Denmark and South Africa are among the countries leading the way in digitizing post offices.

Kushner Finds Government Open to Change—At Least in Tech

June 19 The president's son-in-law and senior adviser targets data centers and floppy disks.

Per OMB, Agencies No Longer Have to Report on Y2K Plans

June 15 The White House nixed several outdated IT directives to federal agencies.

Lawmakers Blast DOD's Failing FITARA Score

June 13 Pentagon's F+ was the only outright failing grade among CFO Act agencies.

Agency FITARA Scorecard Grades Dip

June 13 Fifteen agencies held steady, four agencies improved and five fared worse compared to grades released in December 2016. 

MGT Act Looks Promising But...

June 8 Agencies should start thinking now about making the business case for change, performance metrics and how to transition from outdated technologies to new platforms.

After Tough Audits, Library of Congress IT is on the Mend

June 8 One of the key parts to the turnaround was having the CIO report directly to her, Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden said.

Office of American Innovation, OMB Seek 'Early Wins' for IT Modernization

June 7 The Jared Kushner-led innovation office meets regularly with Office of the Chief Information Officer on cyber and citizen matters.

GSA Reorganizes to Support White House Innovation Office

June 7 The agency's Technology Transformation Service will move under the Federal Acquisition Service.

Veterans Affairs to Adopt Same Commercial Health Records Platform as DOD

June 5 Secretary David Shulkin said there was a public interest exception in skipping a full and open competition.

GSA's Massive Telecom Contract Could Come Soon

June 2 Two of the agency's largest contracts may be awarded this year, with one as soon as this month.

What the Future of Artificial Intelligence in Government Could Look Like

June 2 Cognitive technologies could free up hundreds of hours of government employees’ time.

The Bumps, Cuts and Zeros in Trump’s Tech Budget

May 23 Federal IT sees an overall boost in spending, but many research programs take a hit.

Government Needs Strategic Vision for Emerging Tech, Advisory Group Says

May 19 The Trump administration should tackle networking speed advances like the Obama administration did cloud, NSTAC draft report says.

DHS Lags on Some FITARA Benchmarks

May 18 In all three cases, DHS said it had achieved the milestone, but GAO’s review found otherwise.

House Passes IT Modernization Bill

May 17 The bill's fast movement highlights the bipartisan concern lawmakers share regarding the nation’s aging federal technology.

With Friendly CBO Score, IT Modernization Bill Hits House Floor Wednesday

May 15 The Modernizing Government Technology Act dodged the high price tag it received the first time around.

Trump Releases Long-Delayed Cyber Order

May 11 The order was delayed so security and modernization programs can work in tandem, an official said.

IT Modernization Bill Sails Through House Committee

May 2 “This eliminates the traditional ‘use it or lose it’ approach that has plagued IT for years,” Rep. Will Hurd said.

Trump Creates New Tech Council to Tackle Federal IT Modernization

May 1 A new order offers another sign that agency heads, not CIOs, will be responsible for federal systems.

Hurd to Introduce Revised IT Modernization Bill with White House Support

April 28 The Modernizing Government Technology Act, take two.

Built to Change: The New Model for Federal IT Modernization

April 27 Instead of purchasing what's built to last, the government should think about purchasing with change in mind.

House Oversight Chair—And IT Reform Ally—Won't Run for Reelection

April 19 Chaffetz was a thorn in the Obama administration’s side, using his oversight powers to review the attacks in Benghazi, Libya, and repeatedly probed Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.

Mismanagement Could Scuttle Trump Cyber, IT Modernization Plans

April 13 Trump’s prepping big plans to modernize and secure government technology, but he’ll need government’s buy in to get it done.

Tech Leaders’ Top Recommendations for Fixing Federal IT Challenges

April 11 These key actions key include bolstering FITARA, enhancing CIO authorities and improving budget formulation, governance, workforce operations and transition planning.

IT Subcommittee to Focus on Buying Better Tech Faster

March 29 “It’s time we align best practices in government with industry in acquisition,” Rep. Will Hurd said.

IT Modernization Bill Could be Reintroduced in Congress This Week

March 27 Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, could introduce a tweaked version of the Modernizing Government Technology Act, which passed the House in September but stalled in the Senate during the lame-duck session.  

GAO: Optimize Data Centers or Lose Them

March 23 Progress on closing data centers is mixed and the government’s optimization efforts are worse.

State Department CIO: ‘If People Aren’t Laughing At You, Your Goals Aren’t Big Enough'

March 14 Frontis Wiggins' plan includes revolutionizing how the agency does innovation.

Redefining the Role of Federal CIO: The Enabler-in-Chief

March 9 The key is modernizing systems will not be done in the same architectural model of the past.

Modernizing Government IT—By Looking to the Private Sector

February 3 To operate at today’s scale and face today’s threats, the government needs a paradigm shift in how it approaches technology.

Trump: Agency Heads ‘Totally Accountable’ for Modernization, Cybersecurity

January 31 Trump canceled his scheduled signing of a cybersecurity-themed executive order with no explanation.

CIO Council To Trump: Don't Forget About Federal IT

January 25 An incoming CIO will have a lot on his or her plate.

FITARA Must Become the Catalyst for Change in Federal IT

January 24 Many still consider FITARA a compliance drill rather than a way to transform IT.

Nextgov Event: FITARA in Year Two

December 13, 2016 Join us Thursday for a deep dive into the act's impact.

The Government Finally May Have Found All Its Data Centers

December 7, 2016 Agencies have closed 4,300 of nearly 11,000 data centers.

CIO Authority 'Still a Major Issue' Across Government

December 7, 2016 Neither of the CIOs called to testify before the House committee—Luke McCormack at the Homeland Security Department and Frontis Wiggins of the State Department—report to the top two positions within their agencies.

Agencies Fail at CIO Authorities in New Scorecards

December 5, 2016 The low scores indicate FITARA may not be empowering CIOs as originally intended, or at least not as quickly as Congress had hoped.

How to Improve the Health of Your Agency's IT Portfolio

November 30, 2016 There is a long list of uncertainties for federal IT organizations given the upcoming administration transition.

CIOs, Time to Be ‘Enabler in Chief’ Instead of ‘Constrainer in Chief’

November 15, 2016 What’s required of today’s government CIOs?

GAO to DHS: Give IT Officials a Seat at the Table

October 27, 2016 DHS' IT office has no official vote on DHS’ Joint Requirements Council, which was reinstated in 2014 after a former version of the council went defunct in the mid-2000s.

Some Agencies Spend More Than 90% of IT Budgets on Legacy Systems, Report Finds

October 25, 2016 Some agencies are spending even more on legacy IT than you think.

Federal CIO: Prep For Modernization Funds But Don't Count On Them

October 13, 2016 Legislation that would create working capital funds for modernization could help, but aren't guaranteed to pass.

Video: How Will Congress Fund the Modernizing Government Technology Act?

September 26, 2016 And more on the week's government IT news.

House Passes Modernizing Government Technology Act

September 23, 2016 The federal government’s woefully old IT systems are apparently something both political parties believe require fixing.

How FITARA Changed the CIO Game

September 21, 2016 Legislation gave CIOs new visibility into their own agencies.

Hurd Introduces Modernizing Government Technology Act to House

September 15, 2016 New IT legislation is a combination of Hurd’s MOVE IT act and the IT Modernization Fund championed by U.S. CIO Tony Scott

Report: Want Innovation? Hire and Empower CTOs

September 13, 2016 Chief technology officers should be empowered to deliver new solutions and approaches.

GSA Official: Federal IT Modernization Will Happen With or Without Legislation

September 9, 2016 Even if Congress doesn't pass a meaningful law, agencies must respond to a crisis U.S. Chief Information Officer Tony Scott has labeled worse than Y2K.

Why the A-130 Update is a Huge Deal for Government

August 11, 2016 A-130 focuses on three key elements: real-time knowledge of the environment, proactive risk management and shared responsibility.

OMB Policy Aims to Cut Data Center Spending by 25 Percent

August 1, 2016 The Data Center Optimization Initiative aims to cut data center costs by 25 percent at the close of fiscal 2018.

OMB Stresses Security in Info Management Update

July 27, 2016 This is the first time since 2000 the "Circular A-130: Managing Information as a Strategic Resource" has been updated.

Lawmakers Introduce Alternative to White House’s $3.1 Billion IT Modernization Fund

July 14, 2016 The Modernizing Outdated and Vulnerable Equipment and Information Technology Act of 2016, or MOVE IT, directs individual agencies to establish IT working capital funds.

How to Continue FITARA’s Momentum in the Next Administration

June 30, 2016 With an administration shift, the people appointed sometimes “don’t even know how to spell ‘information technology,'" one former agency CIO said.

Tony Scott: IT Modernization Fund or Not, ‘Accountability All the Way’

June 29, 2016 The initial investment of $3.1 billion could fund as much as $15 billion worth of new applications and infrastructure over the next several years, but only if it’s paid back in full, Tony Scott said.

Federal CIO: IT Upgrade Fund is ‘Single Biggest Opportunity’ to Make Dent in Legacy IT

June 14, 2016 Over the next three years, more than $3 billion worth of federal IT investments will reach end-of-life, Tony Scott says.

Agency CIOs Undercount ‘High-Risk’ IT Projects, GAO Says

June 6, 2016 CIOs are not adequately assessing risk of major projects, according to the Government Accountability Office.

What the T in FITARA Really Means

May 23, 2016 Teamwork makes a whole lot more sense than infighting and mass confusion.

Congress Flexes Muscle on FITARA

May 19, 2016 "We are going to stick with this,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., who promised a bipartisan effort to ensure FITARA is carried out successfully.

Lawmaker: Agencies Don’t Need Billions in New Funding to Upgrade Legacy IT

May 19, 2016 Agencies should repurpose savings from data center consolidation, says Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s IT operations subcommittee.

FITARA Scorecard: Fewer Agencies Get Failing Scores on IT Reform

May 18, 2016 Still, no agency received an A grade.

Inefficient Federal IT Like Paying 400 IT Specialists to Maintain a Single iPad

May 12, 2016 “We're paying a lot of money for fixed capacity that we invested in 10, 20 years ago,” U.S. CIO Tony Scott says. “Call it crazy, I think it's time to bring an end to this."

Attention CIOs, Stay on Top of FITARA Even During Presidential Transition

May 6, 2016 OMB plans to issue new IT budget planning guidance that would “focus on empowering agency CIOs.”

Tech Industry Lines up Behind IT Modernization Fund Proposal

April 26, 2016 Signing on to statements of approval are executives from Northrop Grumman, Cisco, Dell, Intel, CSRA and the pro-business U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Are CIOs to Blame for the Legacy IT Crisis?

April 1, 2016 GAO research shows the average tenure for an agency CIO barely tops two years.

FITARA’s Growing Pains: CIOs Raise Concerns

March 30, 2016 Boosting the authority of agency CIOs when it comes to overseeing IT spending and contracting is one of the key aims of the law -- but it will take some time

IT Fund Gets a Thumbs Up from CIOs. But is $3 Billion Enough?

March 9, 2016 The federal government is planning to spend nearly $90 billion a year on IT next year.

FITARA: The Messy Reality of Unintended Consequences

March 1, 2016 Mismanaged implementation may actually result in delays for IT delivery speed and effectiveness.

Will Congress Write a $3 Billion Check for Better Federal IT Systems?

February 16, 2016 It’s still unclear what strategy the White House is pursuing to make the newly proposed IT modernization fund a reality.

8 Things to Look For in the 2017 IT Budget

February 10, 2016 The budget seeks substantial budget increases to shore up cybersecurity and a new approach to modernizing IT systems.

CIOs May Find a Secret Weapon in FITARA

December 11, 2015 One CIO threatened to cut off access for insecure users and put a freeze on IT spending.