Your Quick Guide to IT Modernization in the Federal Government (MGT Act 2018)

Federal agencies rejoice, you may now modernize!

President Donald Trump signed the highly anticipated Modernizing Government Technologies (MGT) Act (H.R. 2227). With the passage of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), and the bipartisan-supported MGT Act bill, a central fund will likely be created to help agencies modernize essential IT systems as well as provide the means to reprogram unused IT funds for modernization purposes. Federal agencies will more easily be able to adopt modern technologies, best practices, and security safeguards that are well established in the commercial world and some areas of the Federal Government.

As stated on Congress.gov, “This bill [the MGT Act] authorizes each of 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.”

MGT focuses on enabling the use of commodity and shared services such as network, cloud e-mail, collaboration, compute power, and cybersecurity. Leveraging the buying power of the government to procure these services and its management should enable agency staff more time to focus on their unique missions versus operations and maintenance of duplicative systems.

Just as important, the MGT Act opens the doors to technology companies like Three Wire Systems (Three Wire) to leverage our expertise for government agencies challenged with outdated IT capabilities and cybersecurity. Three Wire has been working with government organizations for more than 10 years on modernization projects and bring our customers those experiences, best practices, and lessons learned.

Application and Business/Mission area owners will quickly notice MGT appears to be largely infrastructure focused. For those people, we recommend reviewing the 2017 Report to the President on IT Modernization, Appendix A. While Appendix A appears to be focused on data, it quickly shifts to principles and practices that come with our approach to Agile Application Development & DevOps. Three Wire development projects incorporate continuous integration, automated testing, automated deployments, immutable deployments, code reviews and by extension, automated code analysis focused on security vulnerabilities.

The MGT Act has been sorely needed. In line with Three Wire’s mission, our Agile and DevOps based practices have saved taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars and have provided our customers with the groundwork to leverage MGT. The exciting part about MGT is the procurement and other focus areas should remove the prior resistance for modernization efforts and allow Three Wire to not only continue our client’s success but improve our output and results along the way. Three Wire will also help our customers and partners through identifying opportunities and approaches to modernization to best leverage appropriated or re-appropriated funds and position them to receive their fair share of the proposed $500,000,000 of MGT funding.

We look forward to continuing our partnerships with Federal Government organizations who need qualified modernization experts to fully leverage the MGT Act. For agencies looking to take advantage of the MGT Act in 2018, contact Three Wire to look at ways to improve performance and eliminate long-term costs through agile development!

For more information about Three Wire and the MGT Act, please contact our Senior Vice President, Services Division, Kitty Nix (https://www.linkedin.com/in/kittynix/).

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