The Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) which Congress passed in December of 2014 is touted as the “biggest legislative overhaul in nearly 20 years to the way the federal government procures, budgets and maintains IT”  (read more in this report).  And even in this day and age of extreme political gaming, one issue on which there is consensus in Washington and across the country is the fact that the federal government (and the American people) would certainly benefit by getting their IT house in order.  The act strives to put the authority and responsibility for IT decisions at the CIO level.  It is also focused on establishing a big picture view of IT in the federal government’s IT activities – looking for opportunities to consolidate and remove redundancies.

Another potential of this bill is that it puts laws around some of the President Obama administration’s initiatives for Federal Data Center Consolidation and ‘Cloud First’.  According to this article, the Congress has asked the DOD CIO and CIOs at the individual services to start looking at the software applications used throughout the DOD with the intent of identifying and prioritizing those applications that could safely and sensibly be moved to the cloud.  While the cloud is certainly not going to be a viable solution for some of the software applications used in the DOD and even in federal civilian agencies – I suspect there are many areas where the cloud will provide a viable and attractive alternative to the current way of doing business.  And while nothing moves that fast in the federal government, I think the evolution of IT within the federal government will be an interesting thing to watch in the next few years.