According to NextGov, Representative Will Hurd (R-Texas) will reintroduce the Modernizing Government Technology (MGT) Act this week. Hurd, with Representative Gerry Connolly (D-Virginia), originally sponsored MGT in September 2016 to tackle the Federal Government’s aging IT infrastructure.
The previous administration had proposed a $3.1 billion IT Modernization Fund to address the fact that up to 90% of agency IT budgets go to legacy system sustainment. The Office of Science and Technology Policy issued an exit memo (no longer available on the White House website) with 10 actions to address technology challenges. It will be interesting to see whether the new bill offers specific implementation action items.
Last year, the House passed the MGT Act, but time ran out and it never passed the Senate. At the time, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that implementation would cost $9 billion from 2017–2021. The new bill is likely to create working IT capital funds in CFO Act Agencies to allow reprogramming of existing funds used to sustain legacy systems. This approach would reduce the need to create a new centralized fund as originally proposed.
No matter how IT modernization is funded, opportunities will abound for federal civilian and defense contractors to bid on resulting IT procurements. In addition, when policies change programs such as immigration or taxes (not to mention health care), the impact on federal IT systems is enormous. It seems that with the newly introduced bill, IT modernization will avoid a centralized, portfolio management approach with federal CIO direction. Rather, it is likely to proceed in a more stovepiped, agency-by agency manner.
Federal IT civilian and defense contractors should see significant contracting opportunities—especially contractors who hold preferred agency-specific and government-wide Multiple Award Contract (MAC) vehicles. Stay tuned as the bill moves through Congress!
by Lisa Pafe, APMP-NCA President, CPP APMP Fellow, and PMI PMP