TechAmerica Foundation : Commission on Government Technology Opportunity in the 21st Century Releases Action Plan for Improving Federal IT

Commission on Government Technology Opportunity in the 21st Century Releases Action Plan for Improving Federal IT

Charlie Greenwald at 202.682.4443 or
Anne Caliguiri Savoie at 703.284.5305 or


Washington DC – TechAmerica Foundation’s Commission on Government Technology Opportunity in the 21st Century (GTO-21) today recommended a 33-step action plan to the Obama Administration for improving federal Information Technology (IT) acquisitions and management. The Commission convened following an announcement by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) that it will focus on ways to improve federal technology acquisition and management processes after the Administration froze many large-scale federal technology implementations.

Commissioners identified concrete, achievable steps toward achieving the following widely supported but elusive goals for improving the way government buys and manages IT implications: Developing a professional program management capability; promoting agile, incremental development; strengthening risk management and enhancing internal and external engagement.

“For years, the community has known how to improve things but, so far, we have collectively failed to accomplish the mission,” said Dr. Steve Kelman, co-chair of the Commission and a professor with Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. “As a Commission, we have chosen to focus our efforts on identifying specific, practical actions that government and industry can take to overcome the obstacles to fully realizing the promise of government technology.”

“Clearest of all in our findings is the pressing need to improve coordination between agencies and their private-sector partners,” said Linda Gooden, Commission co-chair and executive vice president of Lockheed Martin’s Information Systems & Global Solutions. “In that vein, we welcome the opportunity to work with the government to support our common goal of maximizing the federal government’s return on its IT investment. Based on the collective wisdom of the government technology community, this report charts the course for a stronger public-private partnership in government innovation in the 21st Century.”

The commission comprises 31 senior leaders from industry and academia with many years of IT and federal acquisition experience. Recommendations were based on their experience, a comprehensive review of prior work to the subject and interviews with more than 100 government technology leaders and industry executives focused on both public and commercial sectors.

Commissioners placed particular emphasis on improving engagement, collaboration, and communication between government and industry, a need cited by 78 percent of the government-experienced IT leaders the body interviewed. The panel therefore asked OMB to endorse the value of communication with industry in a memo to senior personnel across the government. Similarly, acquisitions professionals in government need to do a better job communicating with their own users about whether the systems acquired meet the agency’s needs, the Commission said.

The panel also called upon the government to establish an independent risk review role for major acquisitions to help reduce chances of failure. To improve government program management, recommendations included creating a formal IT program management career track and establishing a program management leadership academy. Commissioners also suggested making large acquisitions more agile and incremental by, among other things, establishing a common methodological framework, sharing best practices, and developing an agile-ready workforce.

A complete copy of the report can be viewed via the following links:

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About TechAmerica Foundation
TechAmerica Foundation educates executives, policymakers, opinion leaders, and the public on the size, scope, outlook, and impact of the technology industry and on policies that enable and promote technological innovations to advance prosperity, security, and the general welfare. Launched in 1981, the Foundation is a 501c(3) non-profit, non-partisan affiliate of TechAmerica, the leading voice and resource for the U.S. technology industry. It disseminates award-winning industry, policy, and market research covering topics such as U.S. competitiveness in a global economy, innovation in government, government IT forecasts, technology employment and international trade indicators, and other areas of national interest.  The Foundation also organizes conferences and seminars to explore pertinent issues with government and industry representatives and to share the Foundation’s findings.