Government IT: Looking forward to 2011

A number of predictions are being made about the direction of government IT for 2011. The Obama administration is taking a look at the effectiveness of the “grand design approach.” These costly, massive IT projects aim for sweeping reinvention of agency computer systems and business processes. Unfortunately, these large-scale projects are frequently plagued by cost overruns and schedule delays.

Government watchdogs say there are two critical elements that will make or break the effort to end the grand-design era: the ability to embrace agile development techniques and the creation of a well-trained acquisition and project management corps to oversee the new rapid delivery style.

Nearly 20 years ago, the General Services Administration advocated that government avoid giant, multiyear IT modernization projects and instead deliver new systems in small chunks and solicit user feedback to identify problems early and facilitate frequent course corrections. Few government agencies have taken that advice, but tighter IT budgets in the foreseeable future may cause them to re-think the idea.

In addition, OMB is calling for a number of IT Acquisition reforms including increased training for government IT program managers and increased oversight of IT products with better defined milestones and the use of agile development.

Over the last 10 years, Partnet has been the major developer of the Defense Logistics Agency’s DOD EMALL. Partnet has stressed the importance of agile development within the DOD EMALL program. The DOD EMALL PMO has an outstanding record of continual system improvement over the system life cycle.  Due to the use of agile development, projects have been able to stay within a tightly controlled budget and on schedule.  We hope the rest of the government will embrace the use of agile development as recommended by OMB.

DOD Security Needs are both Internal and External

Security has been a top priority for DOD in 2010. On November 3, 2010, the Department of Defense announced that U.S. Cyber Command had achieved Full Operational Capability (FOC).  The mission of Cyber Command is to keep intruders out of government websites. This has been a primary focus of security personnel over the past several years with the alarming increase of attacks on government websites.

In November, the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) announced the development of an application that provides smart phone users with a secure way to access DOD networks. Designed by Good Technologies, Go Mobile is intended to allow DOD end-user employees to use their smart phones in a secure way. It uses a plug-in, called a dongle, to connect via Bluetooth to a Common Access Card (CAC). A personal identification number ensures the physical security of the phone. When Go Mobile is active, it disables other features on the phone to secure data storage and provide safe data transfer. The application supports DOD security policy management, enforcement and compliance while providing a secure web browser and a secure apps container. The application is still under testing and evaluation but should be available sometime in 2011.

While these efforts are extremely important and help safeguard external access to government networks and websites, a bigger threat may come from government personnel working within the highly-secure government network. WikiLeaks is a prime example of this internal threat where a single rogue U.S. Army Private was able to download thousands of secret cables and hand them over to Assange’s fledgling organization. No matter how secure a network is, there is always the possibility of a breach from the inside.

Just weeks after the Wikileaks initial release of information, […]

By |December 14th, 2010|General, Security|0 Comments|

Congress to Consider Cyber-Security Legislation on the Heels of Report that Top Government Sites were Hacked by Chinese

Legislation focused on addressing the cybersecurity challenges faced by the Federal Government is currently awaiting debate in congress. If passed, the law will coordinate U.S. cybersecurity efforts and creates a voluntary partnership between the government and the private sector to facilitate the flow of information regarding cyber threats and promotes the sharing of technologies between the private sector and government.

By |December 3rd, 2010|Security|0 Comments|
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