IT modernization measure included in Senate-approved defense policy bill

IT modernization measure included in Senate-approved defense policy bill
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A measure aimed at modernizing the federal government’s information technology infrastructure has been included in defense policy legislation approved by the full Senate.

The Senate Monday evening voted overwhelmingly to pass the fiscal year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which included the Modernizing Government Technology (MGT) Act as an amendment. 

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The measure, introduced by Sens. Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranOvernight Cybersecurity: Kushner was contacted about WikiLeaks before election | Tech experts blast Trump's 'extreme vetting' plan | Senate passes defense bill with measure to modernize feds' IT Ensuring that defense agencies will have access to a community of entrepreneurs and innovators Provision to modernize federal IT in compromise defense bill MORE (R-Kan.) and Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallOvernight Cybersecurity: Kushner was contacted about WikiLeaks before election | Tech experts blast Trump's 'extreme vetting' plan | Senate passes defense bill with measure to modernize feds' IT FCC rolls back media regulations in move that critics say benefits Sinclair Overnight Tech: Senate Dems want FCC chief recused from Sinclair merger | Tech rallies on Capitol Hill for DACA | Facebook beefs up lobbying ranks MORE (D-N.M.), would set up a $500 million modernization fund for agencies to tap into to transition from costly legacy systems to newer, more secure technology. It would also create working capital funds to help agencies modernize their technology.

Companion legislation spearheaded in the House by Rep. Will Hurd (R-Tex.) passed by a voice vote back in May. The measure received backing from the Trump administration, which has made IT modernization a point of focus as part of senior adviser Jared Kushner’s work leading the American Technology Council. 

Both Moran and Udall positioned the bill as a way to both strengthen cybersecurity and reduce federal spending. 

“In light of the numerous data security issues that continue to threaten our federal government and American businesses, I’m pleased the Senate acted to prioritize the modernization of our alarmingly outdated federal IT systems,” Moran said in a statement. “The improved efficiencies included in the legislation will strengthen our cybersecurity capabilities and reduce long-term wasteful spending.” 

Udall called the measure “a perfect example of what we can accomplish when we seek common-sense solutions in a bipartisan way.” 

The Senate passed the fiscal year 2018 NDAA by a vote of 89-8 Monday evening, paving the way for House and Senate negotiators to hammer out a final bill.

Similar IT modernization legislation passed the House last Congress, but stalled in the Senate as it encountered hangups as a result of cost estimates.