Tech Industry Group Recommends Biden Admin Reimagine How Government Does IT

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris Andrew Harnik/AP

The Alliance for Digital Innovation unveiled a series of legislative and policy proposals for President-elect Joe Biden to consider.

A white paper released by an association of commercial companies Thursday calls on President-elect Joe Biden’s incoming administration and the 117th Congress to “reform and rewrite” a new legislative foundation for federal IT.

The recommendations, released by the Alliance for Digital Innovation, fall under three pillars: Fixing the way the government acquires and uses technology solutions; securing federal networks, data and information; and creating a strong foundation for the future of IT modernization.

“ADI has developed a set of legislative and policy proposals that we believe can unite both parties and both the Legislative and Executive branches of government,” the paper states. “These efforts will empower federal agencies to thoughtfully and effectively leverage innovative commercial technology and cybersecurity capabilities, reduce wasteful spending on outdated technology and infrastructure, and ensure government builds a robust, yet agile, foundation for long-term digital transformation.”

The recommendations make clear that the federal government’s continued reliance on legacy technology is problematic from the perspectives of digital service delivery and cybersecurity. Further, the legislative frameworks that govern the government’s use of technologies, including the Federal Information Security Modernization Act, or FISMA, are ill-suited to manage today’s evolving commercial technologies.

The Biden/Harris administration has not laid out specific tech plans yet, opting to focus on combating COVID-19, economic recovery, racial equity and climate change. However, Biden’s agency review teams lean heavily on tech experts and his nascent tech agenda points toward increased spending in research and development, rural broadband and forming more partnerships with industry.

In total, ADI’s recommendations are:

  • Reform and rewrite a new legislative foundation for federal IT.
  • Adopt enterprisewide commercial capabilities.
  • Expand innovative acquisition authorities.
  • Address outdated funding models for IT projects.
  • Scale secure telework.
  • Update FISMA.
  • Move from check-the-box compliance to risk-based decision-making.
  • Modernize federal technology service delivery.
  • Empower the federal technology workforce.
  • Improve performance of federal IT spending.

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