Bill Would Reduce Wasteful IT Spending, Strengthen National Data Security
May 25 2017
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) today authored a letter to the chairman and ranking member of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee requesting swift consideration of the Modernizing Government Technology (MGT) Act of 2017 (S. 990/H.R. 2227), legislation to modernize government information technology (IT), eliminate wasteful spending and strengthen cybersecurity. The letter was also signed by U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.).
“In the time that has passed since we first introduced this legislation, the threats of hacking, espionage and cybercrime have only grown more real,” said Sen. Moran. “This month we saw a worldwide ransomware attack that impacted hundreds of thousands of computers in more than 150 countries. Protecting our data has never been more important. By bringing government IT systems into the 21st century, not only can we strengthen the security of our data, we can save billions of taxpayer dollars by reducing long-term wasteful spending."
“Senators from both sides of the aisle recognize the urgency of this issue: as we have seen just this month with the ‘WannaCry’ attack, global cyberattacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated and pose a complex and serious threat to our national security,” said Sen. Udall. “But the federal government continues to rely on grossly outdated IT systems that make us vulnerable to such damaging cyberattacks. I welcome House passage of this bipartisan legislation, which will help federal agencies to retire old systems and invest in new and critical technologies. Maintaining old IT systems is a security risk and costs taxpayers billions of dollars each year. Now it's time for the Senate to pass this bipartisan bill and see it signed into law, to ensure that our government is getting better service at a better value for American taxpayers.”?
"Having spent twelve years in the technology sector, I know firsthand the threats cyber criminals pose and the need for modernized equipment to protect against attacks,” said Sen. Daines. “We have seen in recent years attacks on private business and governments that have crippling effects. It is more important now than ever to pass this important bipartisan legislation and bring the government into the modern era."
"Ensuring that government agencies have the resources to invest in current technology is just smart management: Up-to-date systems means better service delivery and improved cyber security,” said Sen. Warner. “Our bipartisan legislation is a commonsense step to enable federal agencies to make these critical investments."
In the House, which passed the MGT Act with bipartisan support on May 17, the bill was led by U.S. Representatives Will Hurd (R-Texas) and Gerry Connolly (D-Va.).
The bill is supported by a number of IT industry stakeholders and trade associations including the IT Alliance for the Public Sector (ITAPS), Professional Services Council (PSC), TechNet, Amazon Web Service, Cisco, Adobe, BMC, Brocade, Intel, Microsoft, Business Roundtable, CA Technologie, Compuware, CSRA, Level 3 and Unisys.
Full text of the letter is below and can be found here.
Dear Chairman Johnson and Ranking Member McCaskill,
We write to respectfully request that the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs mark up the Modernizing Government Technology (MGT) Act of 2017.
We believe our bipartisan legislation complements your interest in improving how the federal government acquires, implements, and manages information technology (IT). The federal government spends over $80 billion annually on major IT systems, with more than 75 percent expended on maintaining existing IT rather than investing in development, modernization and enhancement activities.
The rising cost of maintaining such “legacy” IT systems hinders the ability for agencies to replace their aging technology tools with more cost-effective solutions. According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), federal IT systems use outdated software languages and hardware parts that are unsupported, making them vulnerable to cyberattacks. Aging federal IT systems may pose other serious security risks due to the inability to use data encryption, multi-factor authentication and other current security best practices.
The MGT Act would establish IT working capital funds at the 24 agencies pursuant to the Chief Financial Officers (CFO) Act of 1990 (P.L. 101-576) and a separate centralized modernization fund within the Department of the Treasury for a federal IT expert board to administer across the federal government. Savings obtained by federal agencies through streamlining IT systems, replacing legacy products and transitioning to cloud computing can be placed in a working capital fund that can be accessed for up to 3 years for further modernization efforts.
The House of Representatives has already approved its companion legislation, H.R. 2227, which passed by voice vote on May 17, 2017. The MGT Act garnered endorsements from numerous stakeholder groups, including the IT Alliance for the Public Sector (ITAPS), Professional Services Council (PSC), TechNet, Amazon Web Service, Cisco, and others.
Reporting the MGT Act out of the Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs will help advance our shared goal of preserving national security and ensuring that the federal government uses taxpayer dollars wisely.
Thank you for your consideration and your continued leadership on these issues.
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