Time for Tech

What's in store for federal IT during a period of transition.

For the federal information technology community, the past two years have been some of the leanest and most uneventful in recent memory. IT budgets have not kept up with inflation and agencies have announced few innovative projects.

But in 2009, government just might see its technology engine rev up, or at least shift out of neutral, once again.

That's the message in this package of stories for the Technology Outlook issue, brought to you by Nextgov.com, Government Executive's online sister publication, which covers the government tech world. The dawn of a new administration in January brings the potential for a boost in IT projects, according to federal and industry IT professionals who participated in a roundtable discussion sponsored by the Association for Federal Information Resources Management. These chief information officers, researchers and executives agreed that the new administration will have a unique opportunity to elevate technology to a central role in a management plan for government. The chances look good, the group said, given the enthusiastic embrace of online campaigning this election year.

New presidents can bring big changes-and Barack Obama and John McCain frequently and repeatedly remind voters they will-making the outlook uncertain for some existing IT initiatives. But it's likely that quite a few programs will live on, regardless of who is in the White House, writes Carolyn Duffy Marsan in her piece on sure IT bets for 2009. Look for the next administration to continue President Bush's effort to consolidate systems and services, and to secure networks against cyberattacks. Other likely initiatives include expanding electronic government and investing in technology that uses less energy. These are ideas that rise above politics. It's hard for any Republican or Democrat to be against saving money, improving services or tightening national security.

Nevertheless, money will remain an issue for many agencies, as the Defense Department tells us. IT budgets for the military services are flat and will remain so, leaving technology managers looking for ways to save money. That might include moving away from managed services, one of the hot IT trends of the 1990s, in which agencies outsource the day-to-day management of an entire network to a contractor. Instead, the Defense Information Systems Agency plans to develop plug-and-play services for its users in hope of providing better capability for less money. This could signal a trend to move more IT operations back in-house.

Of course, talk of a new president inevitably leads to discussions about leadership. For technology, it is no different. So, Nextgov sat down with Kenneth Ruscio, president of Washington and Lee University, who has written extensively on the subject, to talk about what constitutes leadership and how IT is influencing leaders. The interview is part of a package of online features that make up our Technology Outlook report. We invite you to visit www.nextgov.com/techoutlook to check them out and to read the entire special report to learn what IT plans to make for the coming year.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.