25-Point Plan for Overhauling IT Contracts

White House officials on Thursday morning released a 25-point implementation plan to execute one of the biggest information technology contracting overhauls since the 1996 Clinger-Cohen Act.

The problem the plan aims to tackle: Productivity gains in the private sector have outpaced government performance even though federal agencies spent about $600 billion during the past decade on technology to boost efficiency. The Obama administration's policy roadmap aims to dismantle the old way of installing new technology - which has been to design overly-ambitious systems that fall years behind in development - and create new procedures for quickly and cheaply upgrading machinery.

Here are some of the standouts on the to-do list:

  • Reshape or terminate at least one-third of underperforming projects in the government's $80 billion IT portfolio within the next 18 months.
  • Shift to a "cloud first" policy, where agencies consider moving to Web-based software and hardware before spending money on new systems. Each agency will identify three must-move services within three months, shift one of those services to the cloud within 12 months and then transition the remaining two within 18 months.
  • Within 12 months, establish a tech fellows program modeled after the Presidential Management Fellows program to recruit graduate students with in-demand talents into IT program management.
  • By mid-June, launch a website where industry and agency contracting officials can collaborate prior to the issuance of requests for proposals.

More details and commentary later today. . .

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