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Is the Federal Government Ready to Embrace the Cloud?

Kenneth Corbin | Jan. 17, 2014
Bipartisan duo forms Cloud Computing Caucus to promote government IT transition, while leading private-sector firms convene an advisory group to help spread the gospel about the cloud.

Issa and Connolly teamed up to introduce the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act, or FITARA, a bill that would amount to a major overhaul of the government's IT operations, including the role of department and agency CIOs.

FITARA passed the House last June as part of a defense spending bill, but was stripped out of the version that was ultimately approved by the full Congress.

As Issa explained it, FITARA would provide needed support for the government's efforts to adopt cloud computing, which achieves efficiency and cost savings from tapping into an established, repeatable architecture. In keeping with that spirit of consistency, the bill would consolidate authority over IT projects, currently diffused among CIOs at the sub-agency and bureau levels, under the CIO of the department or agency. Federal officials decidedly did not follow that approach in developing the website for President Obama's healthcare law, Issa pointed out.

"The greatest failure in the cloud is reinventing anything," he said. "Healthcare.gov should not have been built on a unique portal. It should have been built on proven platforms that had already delivered similar results for similar applications and simply had connections to its current needs."

Of FITARA, he added, "We demand that it be passed and signed into law, not because of Healthcare.gov, but as I said, Healthcare.gov is a good example of [how] there were lots of people in the kitchen, they were all sous chefs and we can't find the chief chef anywhere for that particular creation. We have to have that type of responsibility and predictability."

Amazon's Carlson applauded the bill for " giving our CIOs centralized control on how they can spend and take a look at their money and the efficiency and use of that and move it around in the right ways. And it's really an important step forward for federal agencies and the federal IT community."

 

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