The National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) annual member survey aimed to get a picture of what is currently happening in IT implementation at the state level. It focused on how states are funding their IT work and how they are implementing key technologies.
Show Me the Money
The survey found that state CIO offices have a median budget of $132 million, with high levels of federal funding resulting from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, the American Rescue Plan, and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. But with the level of modernization needed to meet citizen expectations of digital government, that frequently is not enough.
States are increasingly moving to a "chargeback" model where IT funding comes from the business unit where it is used. For example, the Human Resources Department would be responsible for paying for the licenses and development costs of their HR information system, rather than that being seen as an overhead expense funded out of IT. This model allows CIOs to use more of their budget for large-scale IT modernization projects that stretch over many years and impact multiple departments.Continue reading →
Since 2015 the government has bi-annually taken the pulse of IT modernization efforts with the FITARA scorecard. Created as part of the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA), the scorecard provides a glance at how agencies are managing seven key IT activities:
Agency CIO authority enhancements
Transparency and risk management
Portfolio review savings
Data center consolidation
Modernizing government technology (MGT)
Transition off Networx contract
The latest report unveiled at a roundtable event rather than the traditional hearing, showed three agencies achieving As, 16 Bs, and five Cs. Education and Labor received their first overall A score, joining the U.S. Agency for International Development, which had previously scored an A. Of those Bs, six were improvements from Cs - Agriculture, Energy, Homeland Security and Interior, Office of Personnel Management, and Social Security Administration.Continue reading →
Two years following the "Cyber EO" naming zero trust as the security architecture of the future and after one year of implementing the Federal Zero Trust Strategy, federal agencies have made important progress predicting and identifying roadblocks. With the first major deadlines coming at the end of 2023, this year is critical for figuring out how to overcome identified barriers.
A survey found that 35% of federal CIOs say they have "intermediate or advanced" zero trust capabilities in place, but there are concerns about having the right resources and funding to fully meet administration mandates. Nine in 10 respondents agreed a key step is having a zero trust assessment performed by an outside resource to identify gaps and key focus areas, but contracting and finding funding for this effort is difficult. With this assessment, existing resources can be assigned to the most critical and impactful areas, and the need for additional funding and resources can be prioritized. Funding specifically earmarked for zero trust will be in FY24 budgets. This funding is determined by aligning the work and tools needed across each capability area.Continue reading →
Use of Cloud Computing is now standard practice across federal, state, and local government agencies, but that does not mean the technology is growing stale. Organizations are finding new ways to use the flexibility of cloud computing to deliver on their missions.
Radio in the Clouds
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is examining options for a "transition from hardware-based ground radio processing to cloud-based software applications." In practice, this would mean digitizing NOAA radio frequencies using devices that are software-driven, rather than traditional hardware-based devices, to support the agency's satellite programs' need for telemetry processing--the reading and transmission of data from a remote source.Continue reading →
The 15th Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) scorecard was issued in December 2022 to provide a look at how agencies are meeting modernization goals. Much like the 14th report, all measured agencies improved their scores or stayed the same indicating that changes are needed to ensure the report fully reflects today's modernization goals that have shifted from data center consolidation to cloud usage, and onward to Zero Trust cybersecurity strategies. The committee overseeing the scorecard, as well as industry groups, are looking at ways to better align modernization activities with the report.
FITARA 15 Findings
Currently, the seven active grading categories on the scorecard are: 1) progress in transitioning to EIS contracts; 2) CIO authority enhancements; 3) transparency and risk management; 4) portfolio review; 5) data center consolidation; 6) Modernizing Government Technology (MGT) Act; and 7) cybersecurity/FISMA.Continue reading →