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) MoranGoogle says it continues to allow apps to access Gmail user data McConnell: Sessions should stay as attorney general Tougher Russia sanctions face skepticism from Senate Republicans MORE (R-Kan.) and Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallSenate Democrats increase pressure for FBI investigation of Kavanaugh Trump administration weakens methane pollution standards for drilling on public lands Senate Dems want DOJ review of Giuliani's work for foreign entities 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government and American businesses, I’m pleased the Senate acted to prioritize the modernization of our alarmingly outdated federal IT systems,” Moran said in a statement.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.