Federal and state CIOs are setting the roadmap for 2014-2015 by focusing on innovation and strategic thinking. That sounds great, but there are major tactical obstacles to be overcome first.
US Federal CIO Steven VanRoekel said the prevailing theme throughout his 2015 budget proposal is technology and innovation. According to an article in E2 sister publication InformationWeek, the 2015 federal IT budget is likely to remain at about $82 billion, in line with recent budgets.
Speaking at a February 6 event in Washington D.C. that was sponsored by the Institute for Innovation, VanRoekel implied that the Obama Administration's efforts to adopt cloud computing, embrace open data standards, and improve IT security "are moving a sector of the economy."
State CIOs are generally in alignment with these efforts, at least based on the 2014 Federal Advocacy Priorities released by the National Association of State CIOs (NASCIO) on January 23. State CIO priorities include:
- Collaborating to secure the public sector
- Building a nationwide public safety broadband network
- Improving information sharing
- Implementing grant guidance reform
It's interesting to note that most of these priorities closely resemble NASCIO's 2013 Federal Priorities list. In fact, in a prepared statement, NASCIO president Craig Orgeron, CIO of the State of Mississippi, noted:
While progress was made in 2013 with the release of federal grant guidance reform and a sweeping Executive Order on cybersecurity, there is still a long road ahead. Congress has yet to act on this vital issue, and the Administration must continue to work with state partners to modernize and secure government information technology.
This should come as no surprise, given the typical pace of change in government -- especially when it comes to federal and state collaboration. Throw in the fact that the federal government has faced some pretty major IT debacles -- including the trouble-plagued launch of Healthcare.gov, the NSA scandal, and the problematic Federal Datacenter Consolidation Initiative -- and it's pretty clear that the office of the federal CIO is no cakewalk.
VanRoekel's plate has been especially full. Not only has he been serving as federal CIO since 2011, but in May 2013 he was also named acting deputy director for management at the US Office of Management and Budget. Still, it doesn't make it any less frustrating, especially when it comes to issues like cybersecurity and public safety networks.
NASCIO identifies key areas it says must be addressed in order to meet its Federal Advocacy goals:
- Mature identity management: Build robust, interoperable trust frameworks to ensure we know who is truly accessing sensitive data.
- Build the public sector IT workforce: Recruit and train more qualified information technology professionals in the public sector at all levels.
- Promote common data standards: Information exchange between intergovernmental partners requires adopting common models, such as the National Information Exchange Model, and creating security overlays.
- Collaborate on broadband: Between the creation of the FirstNet public safety broadband network, and reforms to the E-Rate Broadband for Schools and Libraries program, there are significant stakes already laid out for both state and federal government in seeing these efforts through.
How far do you think we'll get in 2014? Will state CIOs see any progress on their goals? Will VanRoekel be able to achieve the level of innovation he espouses? How does the US federal IT situation stack up against that of other nations? Tell us what you think in the comments field below.
— Susan Nunziata, , Director of Editorial, EnterpriseEfficiency.com