Congress Achieves Real IT Modernization Progress

We’ve talked about the need for Congress to prioritize upgrading and modernizing government IT systems for a while now, so we were glad to see the Senate recently pass the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) with the Modernizing Government Technology (MGT) Act intact. The MGT Act (HR 2227), introduced by Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX), was signed into law last Tuesday. Federal IT modernization is a critical component of strong government cybersecurity, and the necessity for this bill is clearer than ever. Recently, the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Information Technology, which Rep. Hurd chairs, gave several federal agencies failing grades for their efforts around IT modernization in the latest Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) scorecard. Encouragingly, chairman Hurd plans to include the MGT Act’s requirements for agencies to establish working capital funds as a category in a future scorecard. Rep. Hurd’s goal for FITARA to evolve into a digital Cyber Exposure scorecard would help agencies more clearly assess their risk, because, as he noted recently, legacy technology poses both a financial and cybersecurity risk to our nation. Chief among those threats is the inability to identify it as part of a...
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A Call for Congress to Prioritize Modernizing Government Technology

While we’ve already seen Congress engage in fierce debates over fiscal year 2018 funding, it’s important to remember that there are bipartisan issues on the table. Upgrading and modernizing government IT systems is one such area that deserves continued focus. That’s why we were pleased to see the Senate pass the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) with the Modernizing Government Technology (MGT) Act as an amendment from Sens. Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Tom Udall (D-NM). The MGT Act (HR 2227), introduced earlier this year by Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX), is an important step toward federal IT modernization. The bill passed the House in May with 18 co-sponsors from across the political spectrum, with Reps. Robin Kelly (D-IL), Gerry Connolly (D-VA) and Steny Hoyer (D-MD) joining Reps. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) and Darrell Issa (R-CA), among others. Now that the Senate has done its job, we urge members of the Conference Committee to agree to and pass the NDAA with the MGT Act so federal agencies have the funding they need to implement modern IT systems as quickly as possible. We’ve all heard the shocking anecdote about the country’s nuclear arsenal that is controlled by an eight-inch floppy disk, but...
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