The White House is almost done reviewing its modernization report and expects to finish the process by the end of this week, according to acting federal CIO Margie Graves, speaking at CyberTalks in D.C. on Wednesday. Graves said the "cogent" public comments submitted since the report’s release in August have been absorbed into the newest draft.
The White House is closer than it has ever been to effective modernization of government IT, said Graves. Her office is working closely with the Office of Management and Budget and other federal agencies to make sure plans can take full advantage of budgets and legislation in place.
A tight partnership between agencies and the industry is critical for modernization efforts, according to Graves, and all parties involved need a risk-based focus on cyber, connecting every dollar allocated by the budget to reducing risk.
The modernization report released in August called for more cloud usage, application updates, legacy system maintenance and shared services. The report comes alongside May's executive order to prioritize cybersecurity as an national security measure and upgrade outdated federal IT infrastructure.
The majority of the government's IT budget is allocated to maintenance of older systems, leaving a small portion for security upgrades, best practices or investment in newer equipment.
The Senate passed the Modernizing Government Technology Act (MGT Act), an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, in late September, and the bill will next pass to the House, where it is expected to receive bipartisan support again. The amendment would offer a $500 million fund for agencies to access for IT modernization over the next two years.
Additional funds like those which would be made available under the MGT Act are important for upcoming modernization efforts, according to Graves, whose office is working closely with other government parties to ensure related legislation is taken full advantage of.
The White House has reached outside of the public domain to top leaders in the tech industry. The Trump transition team met with Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Satya Nadella and Tim Cook, among others, to figure out how to save $1 trillion over the next decade through modernization.
Such partnerships will continue to be useful moving forward as the government looks for more talent and ideas to carry out modernization, said Graves.