Senate NDAA Includes MGT Act Language Modernizing Federal IT
The third round of Senate amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) – the major appropriations bill setting spending levels for the Department of Defense – will include language from the Modernizing Government Technology (MGT) Act, a bill that would seek to provide the funding necessary to enable agencies to modernize the technology on which they rely.
The House passed an earlier version of the MGT Act, which was introduced by Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX), but the bill never made it through the Senate. The language included in the NDAA amendment is slightly modified to address some Senate concerns, a decision that appears to improve the bill’s chance of becoming law, pending the conference committee to negotiate the differing House and Senate versions of the NDAA.
The MGT Act seeks to address cybersecurity concerns partly fueled by reliance on outdated federal technology. The bill:
authorizes each of the specified agencies for which there are Chief Financial Officers to establish an information technology system modernization and working capital fund to:
- improve, retire, or replace existing information technology systems to enhance cybersecurity and to improve efficiency and effectiveness;
- transition legacy information technology systems to cloud computing and other innovative platforms and technologies;
- assist and support efforts to provide adequate, risk-based, and cost-effective information technology capabilities that address evolving threats to information security; and
- reimburse amounts transferred to the agency from the Technology Modernization Fund (established under this bill), with the approval of such agency's Chief Information Officer.
The bill-turned-amendment also establishes a Technology Modernization Fund administered by the Commissioner of the Technology Transformation Service at the General Services Administration and in accordance with guidance issued by the Office of Management and Budget. Proposals for use of the fund would be evaluated by a Technology Modernization Board also established by the act.
“The amount of money that our federal government spends on antiquated technology is mindboggling. Outdated technology policies and poor cybersecurity hygiene have riddled government agencies for decades, leaving our digital information vulnerable to hacks and costing taxpayers billions,” said Rep. Hurd, who chairs the Information Technology Subcommittee of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. ““By incentivizing the transition to modern technology, we will allow the government to harness cutting-edge technologies, use each dollar more efficiently, strengthen our digital infrastructure and improve government services for everyone.”
Posted in From the Hill