Critical Update: Rep. Will Hurd Explains Why Everyone Should Care About Government Tech

Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas

Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas J. Scott Applewhite/AP

For episode 5, Nextgov goes to Capitol Hill to talk with one of the most persistent voices on federal IT management and reform.

Federal technologists have been trying to improve the state of government IT for years, though many lacked the authorities needed to make real transformation happen. That is changing, in large part due to several pieces of legislation giving federal chief information officers more power over hiring, budgets and the strategic direction of their agencies.

One of the major advocates of these bills is Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, a two-term congressman and chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on IT. As part of his oversight role, he helped develop the FITARA Scorecard, a tool Congress uses to track whether agencies are complying with major IT initiatives like data center consolidation goals and legislation like the Modernizing Government Technology Act and MEGABYTE Act. More specifically, he’s been pushing hard to give federal CIOs more authority over their employees and budgets, as well as real influence over the direction of their agencies.

“I always say, ‘IT procurement is not a sexy topic.’ I don’t think anyone’s ever held a parade in honor of IT procurement. But it is something that could ultimately change the way the government operates. It’s the way that we’re going to ensure the federal government is spending its money wisely,” he said.

While some might not think government IT is glamorous, Hurd said he’s making the case to voters in his district as he runs for a third term. So far, he says, they’ve been receptive.

Hurd also gets into his time at the CIA, other federal IT-focused legislation he’s working on and watching and whether agencies should be treating day-to-day IT and emerging technology the same way.

Listen to the full interview below or download the podcast from Apple Podcasts.

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