OMB to Offer Guidance for IT Modernization

Published: November 03, 2016

OMBPolicy and Legislation

Under the pretense of increasing the federal government’s cybersecurity posture, OMB released draft guidance last week for modernizing federal IT systems.

According to OMB the federal government spends 78% of its approximately $80 billion annual IT budget on maintaining legacy IT investments. These aging computer systems “are expense to operate and difficult to defend against modern cyber threats,” according to OMB’s blog post. “Moving the Federal Government to modern infrastructure and cloud-based solutions is a fundamental necessity to building a digital government that is responsive to citizen needs and secure by design,” states the draft guidance.

OMB’s planned directive, called the IT Modernization Initiative, is meant to offer a framework and roadmap to help agencies identify and prioritize IT modernization efforts.  The proposed initiative contains four phases:

  1. Development of updated Enterprise Roadmaps
  2. Identification and prioritization of systems
  3. Development of modernization profiles for high-priority systems
  4. Execution

The 24 CFO Act agencies will be required to participate in the modernization effort. The initiative will use the authorities granted to CIOs under FITARA for implementation and will require agencies to report IT system inventories to OMB via standardized templates.  The reporting requirements will support system evaluation and prioritization based on “security risks, operational risks, modernization impact, and execution ability and facilitate uniform comparison of agency information resource management.”

GSA will be tasked with sharing best practices and refining relevant criteria and templates in order to assist agencies in carrying out the initiative. The materials will be maintained at

It appears current OMB leadership wants to leave its mark by instituting this new guidance prior to the installment of the new administration and apart from any legislative action, such as the Modernizing Government Technology (MGT) Act.

Public comments on the draft guidance are due by November 27th.