Sen. Hassan digs into agency IT plans

The push comes, the New Hampshire Democrat explained, because of technology weaknesses exposed in the federal government response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Andrew Cline/Shutterstock Sen. Hassan speaks at a Hillary Clinton rally in NH 2016

Sen. Hasssan speaks at a rally in New Hampshire in 2016. (Image credit: Andrew Cline/

Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), ranking member of the Federal Spending Oversight and Emergency Management Subcommittee of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, is looking for answers from agencies on their legacy IT spending and modernization efforts.

The push comes because of technology vulnerabilities exposed in the federal government response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hassan explained.

"The public health emergency caused by COVID-19 underscores the need for federal agencies to invest in modernizing current IT systems that cannot meet mission expectations in a crisis," she wrote. "Failing to do so could result in costly errors, security vulnerabilities, and inability to serve the American people."

Hassan sent detailed letters June 3 requesting information on tech spending and plans to the CIOs and chief financial officers at the Departments of Defense, Treasury, Interior, Homeland Security, Transportation and Education along with the Small Business Administration, the Social Security Administration and the Office of Personnel Management

The letters cite specific systems and investments that have been called out as old or risky in Government Accountability Office reports, and decries the continued use of decades old systems in mission critical roles across the federal government. Hassan is also pushing agencies to implement the enhanced CIO authorities called for in the Federal Information Technology Modernization and Reform Act.

Hassan wants officials to report back by Aug. 3 with details on agency modernization plans and priorities, legacy system upgrades and budgetary coordination between agency CIOs and CFOs and how Congress can do a better job of oversight of IT modernization.