Federal CIO Outlines the Administration's 2020 Tech Priorities

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Suzette Kent flagged priority data sets and a focus on supply chain security.

Across the federal government, IT modernization is so hot right now.

IT modernization will continue headlining the Trump administration’s tech agenda in the new fiscal year, Federal Chief Information Officer Suzette Kent said.

“IT modernization will never stop,” said Kent at ACT-IAC’s Imagine Nation conference in Philadelphia Monday.

Fiscal 2020 began Oct. 1, and with it comes an updated tech agenda that further emphasizes the importance of the government’s data, Kent said. She flagged financial management and geospatial data as “priority data sets,” and said the administration will push enhanced sharing of those data sets to “support artificial intelligence and other automated technologies.” Kent also signaled a focus on data policies, specifically how to drive mission outcomes in national security and research and development domains without sacrificing citizen trust and privacy.

Kent said a forthcoming plan from the administration would include more nuanced information, but added that cybersecurity and supply chains will feature prominently. She called attention to the growing number of commercial software-as-a-service solutions used by government agencies.

“We want to ensure that as we acquire more services as a service that we continue to increase the bar for security,” Kent said. “We want to have the same level of diligence and security expectations with our providers as we hold our federal agencies to deliver. That’ll be very important.”

Kent’s remarks Monday coincided with two new modernization projects approved for funding from the Technology Modernization Fund. The TMF board announced $4 million to modernize the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Charge and Case Management System. In addition, the board granted $8 million in funding to revamp the Agriculture Department’s paper-based Specialty Crops inspection system.