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If you don’t look closely, 2021 seems eerily similar to 2020 for the federal technology community.
Topics like the pandemic, cybersecurity, cloud and the like were all big movers and shakers over the last 12 months.
But if you peel back the onion or curtain, or whatever cliché you prefer, the next 12 months will be strikingly different if — and it’s a big if — the Office of Management and Budget, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and Congress can come together to further push the evolution of IT modernization and cybersecurity.
For insights about the past and future of federal IT, Federal News Network asked for feedback from former federal IT executives:
- Suzette Kent, former federal chief information officer
- Eric Olson, former Treasury Department CIO
- Dave Wennergren, CEO of ACT-IAC and former Defense Department principal deputy CIO
- Mike Hettinger, president and founding principal of Hettinger Strategy Group and former staff director of the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Government Management
- Rich Beutel, managing principal and founder of Cyrrus Analytics and a former counsel for acquisition and IT policy/cloud for the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
- Rob Dapkiewicz, senior vice president and general manager of MetTel Federal
For you, what were the two biggest federal technology stories of 2021?
Suzette Kent is the former federal chief information officer.
Suzette Kent: My answers are not about the “single story” but the results delivered because of what the community accomplished:
- New levels of cyber collaboration and response speed across government, industries and vendor community
- Remote workforce innovation
- Agencies that moved former paper processes to completely digital, for example, temporary worker certifications, Labor Department and Social Security Administration interviews, onboarding and offboard[ing] — not all, but some. They proved business continuity and in most cases delivered high quality, faster results.
- Implemented broad-scale data sharing for all things pandemic related be it vaccine research, vaccine distribution, worksite safety, etc. This demonstrates what can be possible with other types of purpose-driven shared capabilities, and hear that some cross agency collaboration tools might be coming soon too!
Rich Beutel: The momentum to create a modern, 21st century digital government through the embrace of customer experience, as an essential aspect of underlying IT infrastructure essential for government to modernize core service delivery. Virtually all key policy expressions, from the President’s Management Agenda to individual Office of Management and Budget policies and directives, now either expressly or implicitly acknowledge the necessity for government to reform all aspects of essential service delivery, especially to underrepresented and underserved communities, by re-examining how Americans “consume government” and by revamping the IT necessary to effectively serve this goal. In this regard, government’s failure to fully and completely implement the requirements of the two-year old 21st Century IDEA Act stands as a massive program failure across the board.
The awareness that cybersecurity must be “baked-in” to every facet of government IT and digital …….