The US government has allocated $3.1bn to fund improvements in the nation’s cyber security, which will involve replacing costly and difficult to maintain legacy infrastructure.
The Information Technology Modernisation Fund (ITMF) is being established as part of the Cyber security National Action Plan (CNAP) to address near- and long-term security challenges.
Tony Scott, US chief information officer, explained that CNAP will shed old systems and strengthen the security of federal networks, systems and data.
“A comprehensive review last year of federal cyber security found that the government relies on legacy systems, software, applications and infrastructure, which are less cost-effective and harder to defend against sophisticated actors,” he said.
“Currently, civilian agencies spend 71 per cent ($36bn) of their IT budget to maintain legacy IT investments, which limits funding for the development of more secure and efficient technology solutions.
“Ultimately, retiring or modernising vulnerable and inefficient legacy IT systems will make us more secure and save money.”
This goal will involve a number of initiatives, including making agencies repay funds to ensure that the ITMF is self-sustaining, providing incentives for agencies to develop high-quality modernisation plans by making them apply and compete for funds, and providing central expertise to ensure that such projects are successful.
The government will use an independent board of experts to prioritise the modernisation projects most in need of replacing.
But the most interesting element of the ITMF is the government’s aim to get federal organisations onto common platforms to replace the use of multiple legacy systems.
This will involve re-engineering business practices across the government, which echoes the UK Government Digital Service’s efforts to create government-as-a-platform, where digital public services are built out of common components rather than tailor-made from the ground up.
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