Legislation would accelerate adoption of cloud computing by federal agencies
Jul 14 2016
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Tom Udall (D-N.M.) – both members of the Senate Commerce and Appropriations Committees – along with U.S. Representatives Will Hurd (R-Texas) and Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) – chairman and member, respectively, of the House Subcommittee on Information Technology – today introduced the Modernizing Outdated and Vulnerable Equipment and Information Technology (MOVE IT) Act (S. 3263/H.R. 5792). This bipartisan, bicameral legislation would reduce wasteful spending and enhance information security by accelerating the federal government’s transition to cloud computing.
“Americans want an efficient, effective and accountable government,” Sen. Moran said. “Bringing our government’s aging IT systems into the 21st century is an important step in that direction. Where appropriate, cloud-based solutions are a more secure and fiscally responsible alternative that will save our nation billions of dollars for years to come.”
“The United States is the world’s leader in information technology, but too many of the federal government’s IT tools date back to the days of floppy disks and telephone modems,” Sen. Udall said. “As a result, each year, we waste billions of taxpayer dollars maintaining outdated IT systems. Our bipartisan legislation will help federal agencies retire old systems and invest in new cloud computing and other technologies to provide better service at a better value for the American taxpayers.”
“Last year, the federal government spent $80 billion on IT. What’s outrageous is that 80 percent of that is spent simply to maintain and operate outdated, legacy systems, some of which are not even supported any more by their manufacturers,” continued Rep. Hurd. “Using these old systems makes data housed by federal agencies more vulnerable to digital attacks, and it’s a gigantic waste of tax-payers’ money! There is a better way to do this. This legislation is an outside the box, innovative solution and is another step forward in modernizing our digital infrastructure.”
“We have not yet fully realized the potential for cloud computing to transform the way the federal government uses IT and to spur the transition away from hard-to-maintain, unsecure legacy systems,” said Rep. Connolly. “This legislation builds on the success of the bipartisan Federal IT Acquisition and Reform Act, which I co-authored. Savings and efficiencies created by FITARA will help provide the necessary funds for agencies to transition to the cloud. And the MOVE IT bill also improves collaboration with industry on the FedRAMP certification process for cloud providers so the necessary tools are in place when agencies are ready to make that transition.”
Each year, the federal government spends more than $80 billion on information technology (IT), most of which is spent on maintaining old systems rather than investing in new technologies. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that many of the government’s IT systems and components are increasingly obsolete and, in some cases, at least 50 years old. Such “legacy” IT systems often use outdated software languages and unsupported hardware.
Cloud computing and other modern IT solutions can often offer faster processing time, more flexibility and efficiency than older systems. Yet cloud computing adoption by the federal government is hampered by traditional federal acquisition approaches and bottlenecks for commercial providers seeking to be certified as compliant with federal cybersecurity standards.
The legislation has three major components:
- Reforms and streamlines the existing Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP), which standardizes and reduces the cost of assessing the security of cloud computing services used by federal agencies;
- Allows federal agencies to use more flexible “IT working capital fund” to replace outdated IT systems, with savings reinvested and returned to the U.S. Treasury; and
- Implements new oversight mechanisms – including semi-annual reports – to ensure robust congressional oversight of federal IT modernization efforts.
The MOVE IT Act follows previous bipartisan congressional efforts to improve how the federal government purchases and uses IT, including the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA), which was signed into law in 2014.
S. 3263 is also sponsored by Sens. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.). H.R. 5792 is also sponsored by Reps. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), Mike Kelly (R-Pa.), Barbara Comstock (R-Va.), Jaime Herrera-Beutler (R-Wash.), Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.) and John Culberson (R-Texas).
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