In this weeks’ Federal News Roundup we take a look at how FITARA – the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act – is changing the way federal agencies work. We also check in on the Silicon Valley-ization of the federal government and the VA looks to predictive analytics to help forecast benefits. To find out more about these stories, continue reading below.
Department of Transportation Shares Insight into Measurable Impact of FITARA
This week, Department of Transportation CIO, Richard McKinney shared some of the ways in which adhering to FITARA is reshaping the IT acquisition and procurement process for his agency. McKinney has been a vocal proponent of FITARA since the mandate’s inception in December 2014 shared that he and his budget chief, Laura Ziff, were now able to see which projects constituted “a good investment” he said at a recent conference. A key part of the success for the DOT has been using FITARA to find a common language “between the financial and IT staffs.” McKinney and Ziff’s experiences have led some to suggest that the ‘T’ in FITARA shouldn’t stand for technology, but instead for teamwork, which is the key to the DoT’s success, not just implementing the mandate, but also realizing its benefits.
The Federal Government Continues to Emulate Silicon Valley
Over the last seven years Silicon Valley and its core principles of innovation and agility have had a big impact on the federal government. From key hires in the White House to the creation of 18F the Obama Administration has set the tone for the next generation of government. This week two other Silicon Valley-inspired government startups caught our attention: The U.S. Digital Service (USDS) and the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUx). In March, President Obama described the USDS has a ‘SWAT team’ with a mission to deliver a “more awesome government” through technology. With one year ‘tours of duty’ and a startup culture front and center the USDS seems poised to upend governmental traditions.
Speaking of government disruptors…
Secretary of Defense, Ash Carter, has been busy working “to build, and in some cases rebuild, the bridges between our national security endeavor in the Pentagon, and the wonderfully innovative, open technology community of companies and universities that comprise one of America’s great strengths,” through the DIUx. Harkening back to past collaborations that created GPS technology, jet engines, and even the Internet, Carter’s mission to bring innovation to the warfighter, is moving ahead with DIUx 2.0. Launched this month with a new managing partner, Raj Shah and an additional location in Boston, Carter is definitely acting more like a Silicon Valley CEO than a traditional government official.
VA Set to Explore Predictive Analytics to Support Veterans
The Department of Veterans Affairs is exploring predictive analytics as a way to help forecast benefits, and in turn, manage budgets, and develop better agency-wide plans. According to a recent article in NextGov the “approach could help the agency understand the gap between demand for those benefits and the VA’s capability to provide them, as well as the “consequences to the veteran of not closing the gap.” Using data from their own systems, as well as the Census Bureau, the VA will create a comprehensive picture of who will need benefits as well as where and when demand for support will be greatest. Just one more example of data-driven innovation in the federal government! Interested in reading the RFI? You can find it here.
Keep up with the latest IT news for the federal government by following us on Twitter.