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Udall & Moran’s Landmark MGT Act To Reduce Wasteful IT Spending, Strengthen Cybersecurity Included In FY18 NDAA, Heads To President’s Desk

on November 22, 2017 - 7:43am
U.S. SENATE News:
 
WASHINGTON, D.C.  U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) applauded the inclusion and passage of their Modernizing Government Technology (MGT) Act as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY2018.
 
This bipartisan legislation will encourage federal agencies to cut wasteful spending and modernize and strengthen government information technology (IT) and security to save taxpayers up to $20 billion a year. The MGT Act now heads to the president’s desk for signature.
 
“Passage of the bipartisan MGT Act will save taxpayers many millions of dollars and strengthen our cybersecurity,” Udall said. “This major legislation will finally bring the federal government’s grossly outdated IT systems into the 21st century. As it stands, the federal government spends over $80 billion on IT – but 75 percent of that money is being spent to maintain old and legacy systems that date back to the time of dial-up modems and dot-matrix printers. The oldest were created in the 1960s. The MGT Act’s flexible funding options will allow us to break out of that cycle, enabling federal agencies to move forward with long-overdue projects to replace these legacy systems, providing better services at lower cost.  These upgrades will also enable federal agencies to tackle dangerous cyber vulnerabilities and better protect Americans’ data from cyberattacks. This bipartisan, common-sense effort will help ensure that we’re getting better service at a better value for the American people.” 
 
“This bipartisan legislation will propel our inefficient, outdated federal IT systems into the 21st century to promote productivity and strengthen cybersecurity,” Moran said. “Passing the landmark MGT Act will modernize our federal IT infrastructure by incentivizing federal agencies to expeditiously upgrade their systems – with strong built-in oversight by Congress – to continuously evolve and protect against cybersecurity threats at home and around the globe. In addition, nearly 75 percent of the $80 billion we are spending annually on federal IT systems is going toward maintaining and operating legacy IT rather than making lasting improvements. These improved efficiencies will end that practice and ultimately save billions of taxpayer dollars by reducing long-term spending. I’m pleased my colleagues on both sides of the aisle agree that IT investment reforms are an important step toward a more efficient, effective and secure government.”
 
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has found that many of the federal government’s IT systems and components are increasingly obsolete and, in some cases, at least 50 years old. Such “legacy” IT systems often use old software languages and unsupported hardware. Cloud computing and other modern IT solutions can often offer faster processing time, more flexibility and greater efficiency than older systems. Yet cloud computing adoption by the federal government is hampered by traditional federal acquisition approaches and bottlenecks for commercial providers seeking to be certified as compliant with federal cybersecurity standards.
 
The bill will give federal government IT managers more flexibility to make strategic technology investments, more like the private sector. Today, because of the way IT is funded, federal IT managers are forced to pay for IT projects year-by-year, and maintenance of existing systems eats up the lion’s share of IT budgets. Further, agency budget rules do not incentivize savings or innovation because any money not spent has to be returned to the treasury. Under the new law, agencies will be able to put money saved into working capital funds. The funds would be accessible for up to three years to pay for technology improvements and modernization. The bill also creates a centralized fund that agencies can apply to in order to pay for major modernization projects.
 
The MGT Act will build on the 2014 federal IT reform legislation enacted by Udall and Moran, the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA), which gave federal agency Chief Information Officers more autonomy and authority to manage their systems among other significant reforms. 
 
Items to Note:
  • In September, the MGT Act cleared the Senate on a unanimous voice voteas an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) which was then passed on an 89-8 vote.
  • In April, Moran and Udall – both members of the Senate Commerce and Appropriations Committees – introduced the Modernizing Government Technology (MGT) Act (S. 990/H.R. 2227) with the support of their colleagues Sens. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and Sen.Mark Warner (D-Va.). U.S. Representatives Will Hurd (R-Texas) and Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) – chairman and member, respectively, of the House Subcommittee on Information Technology – introduced the House companion legislation.
  • The bill is supported by a number of IT industry stakeholders and trade associations including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the IT Alliance for the Public Sector (ITAPS), Professional Services Council (PSC), TechNet, Amazon Web Service, Cisco, Adobe, BMC, Brocade, Intel, Microsoft, Business Roundtable, CA Technologies, Compuware, CSRA, Level 3, Unisys and others.

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