US CIO Makes Final Push to Shore Up Government Cyber Vulnerabilities

Federal CIO Tony Scott

Federal CIO Tony Scott Susan Walsh/AP

The new guidance joins numerous Obama administration efforts to modernize government IT.

Agencies should ramp up their focus on modernizing outdated information technology systems that could prove vulnerable to cyber breaches, according to guidance released this morning by federal Chief Information Officer Tony Scott.

The plan directs agencies to identify outdated systems at high risk for being exploited by cyber adversaries and to plan and budget for modernizing them.

The plan joins numerous IT modernization plans issued since the beginning of the Obama administration, though few have been focused so directly on mitigating cyber vulnerabilities.

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Despite the Obama administration’s IT modernization efforts, the government has suffered numerous breaches during the past several years at the Office of Personnel Management, the White House, State Department and elsewhere.

Coming at the tail end of the Obama administration, the plan will likely be rejiggered by the next administration.

“Moving the federal government to modern infrastructure, such as cloud-based solutions, is a fundamental necessity to building a digital government that is responsive to citizen needs and secure by design,” the CIO’s office stated in a blog post announcing the plan. “Doing so will enhance agencies’ ability to protect sensitive data, reduce costs and deliver world-class services to the public.”

The public will have 30 days to weigh in on the new modernization effort.