Agencies Working to Modernize IT

The Armed Forces Communications Electronics Association (AFCEA) Bethesda Chapter’s breakfast meeting on May 21 drawing largely from federal civilian agencies, presented a panel discussion on how leveraging modern technologies will improve the quality of federal agency operations.

Michael Hoffman, President Government CIO Media panel moderator, suggested several ideas on how to approach modernizing Federal IT systems. The goal is to work with the public so they can work effectively with the Federal agencies to achieve building the modern enterprise.

Judith Zawatsky, Assistant Commissioner, Office for Systems Management at GSA, praised the establishment of the “Centers of Excellence” (COE) The COE teams work with the agencies top talent and utilize private sector best practices to produce collaboration across government departments and agencies effectively to accelerate IT modernization initiatives.

As several panelists mentioned, when industry contracts with the federal government, identity evaluations may not be effective enough to totally provide enough security when contracts are signed. It is expected that it will take two to three years to explore all the challenges associated with this problem to remedy the problem of confidentiality.

As announced in May, GSA has launched their first central repository for cloud resources called the “Cloud Information Center” (CIC). The CIC an interactive hub on the Acquisition Gateway connecting federal buyers with commercial cloud providers to deliver strategic resources around fundamental cloud issues such as security, technical capabilities, and implementation.

Now industry will soon be able to share information on their cloud capabilities with federal government customers via the CIC’s communities of interest forums. GSA plans to continually assess and update the CIC as user feedback is received to enable the agency to effectively evaluate customer needs.

Captain Michael Dickey, CIO for the Coast Guard Command Control Communication and IT Service Center said, “Both civilian and uniform members of the Coast Guard use apps to do most tasks. The constant use of apps now require apps that deliver just the capabilities users need.”

He mentioned the Joint Artificial Intelligence (AI) Center at the Defense Department was established to partner with large companies contributing to the field of AI. Captain Dickey sees the Defense Department partnering with the Coast Guard to share information so the use of AI will be able to benefit both agencies.

John Moses, Director, for the Governance and Enterprise Management Services Division for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) reports that today the younger workforce want greater mobility and increased capabilities when using modern IT technology.

The Director said, “One of the important responsibilities for the NRC in overseeing the IT budget is to guide the acquisition of radioactive materials used in nuclear medicine to diagnose or to treat various forms of cancer.”

The panelists agree that data must be treated as a strategic asset. In order for this to happen, data needs to be transparent so that when data is effectively shared innovation can take place in agencies, universities, and industry.

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