On Thursday, the Modernizing Government Technology (MGT) Act, championed by Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, was approved in both the House and Senate. Meaning, significant overhaul and modernization of government technology is just one presidential signature away from being reality.
“The fact that our Federal government continues to waste billions of hard-earned taxpayer dollars each year maintaining outdated, legacy IT systems is absolutely outrageous,” said Rep. Hurd. “It’s 2017. The American people deserve better from their government. Our Federal agencies will finally have the motivation to catch up with the 21st Century and embrace emerging technologies so that we can leave behind these antiquated legacy IT systems that have plagued our government for decades. Instead, we can look forward to providing more efficient, transparent services for the American people and safeguard our systems from cyberattacks. I applaud my colleagues in the House and Senate for working to get MGT across the finish line.”
The MGT Act, which was included as an amendment to the $700 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) earlier this month, calls for the creation of a $500 million modernization fund that agencies could borrow against to modernize their aging systems. In addition to the modernization fund, MGT also allows agencies to allocate savings created by first round modernization projects for use in future projects with the creation of working capital funds. Both the IT the work capital funds were heavily discussed in this week’s Oversight and Government Reform IT Subcommittee FITARA hearing.
“Passing the landmark MGT Act will modernize our Federal IT infrastructure and position 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,” said Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., who co-sponsored the MGT Act in the Senate with Sen Tom Udall, D-N.M. “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 Act received significant bipartisan support in Congress, with the NDAA passing through the House with a vote of 356-70. Outside of Congress, industry leaders have also praised the bill.
“The MGT Act will be an important accelerator in the journey to modernize and optimize the impact of Federal IT,” said Gary Newgaard, VP of Public Sector, Pure Storage. “Agencies are facing a digital revolution and need a data platform for the cloud to help them keep up with the deluge of data and regulations they face every day. This Act represents a leap forward in transforming the paradigm in which the bulk of IT investment is focused on keeping legacy systems up and running instead of on innovation that will bring a new level of efficiency and effectiveness to Federal agencies.”
The MGT Act is now on its way to President Trump’s desk for his signature. He is expected to sign the bill soon.