Legislation to Modernize Federal IT Reintroduced in Congress

A bipartisan group of lawmakers has introduced legislation to modernize the U.S. federal government’s information technology, a measure that, if enacted, could improve system security.

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“A move toward modern technologies can keep our information and digital infrastructure secure from cyberattacks, while saving billions of taxpayer dollars,” said the prime sponsor of the Modernizing Government Technology Act, Rep. Will Hurd, the Texas Republican who chairs the House Information Technology Subcommittee. A similar bill was to be introduced in the Senate.

The measure would require each agency to establish an IT modernization and working capital fund, which would be financed through redirecting funds intended for the operation and maintenance of legacy systems. Savings could be applied to new IT acquisitions.

Many federal information systems are antiquated, some dating back nearly a half century. Legacy systems often cannot be patched to defend against emerging threats and vulnerabilities because the technology doesn’t exist to update them. Modernizing IT also includes adopting widespread use of cloud computing. Cloud computing is seen as being more secure than stand-alone systems because reliable cloud providers are better positioned to update and patch the systems they operate, something many agencies and businesses find hard to do because of costs and lack of the necessary in-house skills.

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