The Modernizing Government Technology (MGT) Act is getting a lot of attention in federal IT circles, and rightfully so. But the White House has its own views on how best to accelerate IT modernization, and its recent roadmap promises to drive much change next year.

At the end of the summer the Administration released a report from the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Authored by senior policy adviser Jack Wilmer and Chris Liddell, director of the White House’s American Technology Council, the report is a suggested list of action items to modernize federal IT by consolidating networks, promoting cloud adoption and prioritizing key applications for needed upgrades.

The draft version was shared for public comment, and now the final report has been completed. Federal Computer Week published a good overview last week:

“The wide-ranging plan touches on shared services, Trusted Internet Connection (TIC) policies, the security of high-value assets (HVAs), acquisition of network services and various aspects of cloud migration… both the original draft and the final report have drawn cautious praise, as the report pulls together (and puts White House support behind) multiple recommendations that have long been discussed in the federal IT community.”

Unlike some such reports and directives from the executive branch, this report contains numerous and specific actions and recommendations for agencies to accomplish deadlines by certain dates next year. Here are some GovTransformer sees as especially important – and potentially challenging for agencies to hit:

By 1/31 2018, the National Institute of Standards and Technology is to provide the Office of Management and Budget with a plan to “promote a risk management culture that focuses agency effort on the operational performance and compliance of their most valuable systems.”

By 3/2 the OMB is to issue a “preliminary update to the TIC policy,” and lead a 90-day sprint to have select pilot projects test the new TIC requirements.

By 4/1 low-risk cloud migration projects are to be given approval to begin. DHS, OMB, the General Services Administration, the National Security Council “and other relevant parties” are to launch a 90-day sprint focused on the high-priority systems that require assistance.

By 5/1 OMB, GSA, DHS and the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council are to develop clauses “that define consistent requirements for security, privacy, and access to data for use in cloud contracts.”

By 5/31 agency CIOs, chief information security officers and senior agency officials for privacy are to review and revise their submissions on HVAs, making sure that their system prioritizations and risk assessments are current.

By June 30 DHS, OMB and the National Security Council are to review agencies’ HVA lists and produce a prioritized list of systems for government-wide intervention, picking six to receive centralized staffing and technical support.

These dates certainly seem ambitious to say the least. Yet the MGT might be the piece that has been missing in the past, when the executive branch outlined steps agencies should take to modernize their IT without any funding to do so. Now the funding could be there for agencies that can document the steps they are taking to modernize.

Could this mean that 2018 is the year the transformation of government IT accelerates? Everyone here at GovTransformer certainly hopes so, and we’ll be playing our part. Until then, we wish all of you happy holidays and a joyous New Year.