Federal CIO Clare Martorana today released the Biden administration’s information technology operations plan that links the efforts of four major federal technology programs and offices to the administration’s goals to improve service to citizens and cybersecurity, among other objectives.
The IT operating plan, the federal CIO said, responds to a Congressional request under fiscal year 2022 funding legislation for the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to provide a plan to ” maximizing the impact” of four major federal IT efforts. These include:
- The Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) administered by the General Services Administration (GSA);
- The Information Technology Oversight and Reform Account (ITOR) controlled by the OMB;
- The Federal Citizen Services Fund (FCSF) managed by the GSA; and
- The United States Digital Service (USDS) housed in the White House that hires technologists for limited-time civil service rounds.
“We recognize the significant investment Congress has made in securing and modernizing federal computing and have assembled this plan to outline how we ensure every dollar Congress has entrusted to us is wisely invested toward its most highest – creating the most impact for the American people,” Martorana said.
“We are at a unique time to drive digital transformation across the federal enterprise,” she said. “We can deploy secure technology by design, reduce costs for agencies, eliminate administrative burden for customers and the federal workforce, deliver government services that meet the modern expectations of the American people, and inspire the next generation to serve our great country. ”
According to the plan, the Biden administration is leading “a unified IT operating plan that focuses on the American people and gives them a government that understands who they are, what they need, and how best to deliver IT services to them. efficiently, effectively and fairly, with accessibility and respect.
“ITOR, TMF, and FCSF are essential to enable strategic-level execution of IT efforts and investments in federal agencies,” the plans state, adding that “the funds have different and complementary strengths that arise from their inherent objectives and variations in operating models of implementing organizations.
On the decision-making front, the OMB and GSA partner “to define policies, create shared solutions, and encourage best practices to enable agencies to invest in the best IT tools and services.”
OMB’s role in maximizing the impact of funds and their efforts focus on applying “the appropriate level of strategic oversight to avoid duplication of effort”, directing funds to their maximum use and coordination between agencies. “OMB brings together key stakeholders, promotes knowledge sharing, and provides strategic analysis of projects and progress,” the plan says.
For the TMF, FCSF, ITOR and individual federal agencies, the current top priorities are:
- Data as a Strategic Asset – “Introduce key insights into the decision-making process by leveraging accurate, available and actionable data to power smart government operations and citizen experiences”;
- Cybersecurity – “Strengthen cybersecurity by ensuring that each ministry and agency increases the safety and security of public services and by implementing the requirements contained in the executive decree on the improvement of the cybersecurity of the nation, as well as the Federal Zero Trust Strategy”;
- IT Modernization – “Adopting modern technologies, using continuous improvement methods and applying them across government to make government more efficient and improve the delivery of reliable services”; and
- Digital First Customer Experience – “Use design and technology to deliver an exceptional customer experience to the American public that demonstrably meets user needs and lives up to the expectations of today’s customers.”
The IT operating plan details several fundamental elements to develop and advance technology systems to achieve these goals. The main of them are:
Technical experts within government who partner with non-technical program staff “throughout program and project execution to ensure that technology and the customer are at the center of processes from the start,” says the plan.
“Technical talent is critical to accomplishing the core mission and duties of government, while avoiding the risks associated with outsourcing,” he says, adding that he “also provides essential advice and feedback to partners industry and contractors to ensure project requirements are met.”
“These experts include software engineers, IT specialists, product managers, designers, user researchers, acquisition specialists, and a host of additional internal specialists whose expertise is required to create and iterate on technical systems and engage key stakeholders to gain support for this work,” the plan states.
According to the plans, another fundamental element is that “shared digital services, products, infrastructure and channels enable agencies to create streamlined and consistent customer experiences across government programs and services, and benefit from cost savings. ladder”.
“Strong and well-managed relationships with industry ensure that government benefits from industry innovation and does not reinvent the wheel for existing technology,” the plan continues. “They can build existing technical capacity within agencies and provide both generalized and specific support, particularly in the areas of widely used commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) products and operational technology (e.g., human resources systems, financial management systems and cloud services).
The IT Operations Plan then outlines several case studies that show how TMF, FCSF, and ITOR can work with federal agencies to enhance their respective efforts while avoiding duplication of effort. These include the creation of the US Web Design System in 2015, the creation of Login.gov in 2017, and recent identity modernization work at the Department of Veterans Affairs.