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Federal IT Priorities in Obama's Second Term

Federal CIO Steven VanRoekel is focused on cutting technology expenses, opening data and innovating using technology-as-a-service.

by / January 24, 2013

Now that President Obama's second term is under way, the IT community is looking to federal CIO Steven VanRoekel to shed some light on technology policy for the next four years. At a Jan. 22 hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, VanRoekel spoke on the topic of "Wasting Information Technology Dollars: How can the Federal Government Reform its IT Investment Strategy?"

According to a report in fedscoop, VanRoekel's testimony represented a continuation of priorities set when he first assumed his position in 2011, following the departure of Vivek Kundra. The top three IT priorities of the Obama administration are to innovate in service of the public good, maximize the return from investment in IT and focus on cybersecurity.

“Building on the progress of the last four years, my objective is to balance cost savings with innovation by continuing to cut costs while we invest in technology that securely services the American people,” VanRoekel said.

Legislators expressed concern over estimates that nearly half of federal IT dollars are devoted to maintaining "obsolete and deficient IT resources." VanRoekel responded that older systems are actually better insulated from the latest cybersecurity threats, which seem to focus on taking down newer systems.

Also among VanRoekel's stated priorities, according to Information Week, is a shift from owning physical IT assets to investing in technology-as-a-service.

VanRoekel was joined at the hearing by Government Accountability Office Director for Information Technology Management Issues David Powner and former Congressman Tom Davis, as well as industry representatives from SAP, Brocade, VMWare and Microsoft.

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