Joseph Klimavicz, chief information officer and deputy assistant attorney general at the Department of Justice, today previewed an updated IT strategic plan he is working on that will focus on improved service delivery, more intelligent and autonomous processes, a further push to shared services, improvements to network security, and use of advanced analytics and machine-learning technologies.

Speaking at an event organized by Federal Computer Week, Klimavicz said the updated IT strategic plan, which is being developed with help from DoJ’s CIO Council, is not yet finalized.  He gave no firm indication of when it would be ready, but said his preview of it would “give you a sense of where I think we will end up.”

He said the plan includes four goals–down from five in the current strategic plan–with the first being to “continuously improve our service delivery, providing a better customer experience by adding more intelligent and autonomous processes,” a process he said will require “improving our strategic relationships with our business and industry partners.”

The second goal reflects efficient budget management, which will mean “more shared services and more focus on the use of spending authorities to drive toward more efficient and modern systems,” he said.

“Third, protecting DoJ’s networks, systems, and information will remain a top priority for the department, and will focus on several aspects of security: continuous monitoring, automated incident response, centralized identity management, and resilient systems,” Klimavicz said.

He continued, “These increased capabilities will also deliver efficiencies in how we do identity management, which means we will concurrently deliver more value to our mission community by improving our ability to share information in a secure manner. DoJ will continue to build and improve our cybersecurity services for other federal agencies in support of promoting the use of shared services.”

Finally, “while achieving excellence at the basics, we must keep our eyes on opportunities to maximize mission capabilities by driving forward smart, easily accessed data and use of advanced cognitive analytics and machine learning,” he said.

“We selected these goals because they crosscut through many of the larger challenges facing us,” Klimavicz said, adding, “to be successful, we must also foster a high-performing, nimble workforce that can keep pace with the technologies. This will involve re-skilling with relevant training, re-evaluating the federal compensation packages to stay competitive with industry labor practices, and recruiting and retaining top talent.”

“A common strategy and agile workforce will help guide the department in further adoption of centralized and commodity IT services–resulting in resilient, secure, and cloud and mobile optimized services tailored to the individual and with the ability to support new technologies,” he said.

Central to the support of new technologies, he said DoJ is building a “robust and scalable network backbone” that “will allow us to co-locate data and advanced analytics with scalable computing and enhance our mission capabilities. However, just as important, we can reduce our IT operating costs to reprioritize resources to support the mission.”

“In alignment with what we are seeing in the private sector, we are exploring ways to authenticate, authorize, and encrypt all workflows,” he said. “This zero-trust model uses a combination of unique data and behavior metrics to identify the device and user. Under the Federal CIO Council’s Services, Strategy and Infrastructure committee, my co-chairs and I are sponsoring a working group to explore implementing this model for the federal government.”

A challenge to adopting the zero-trust model is putting in place a “strong identity management model that establishes an enterprise digital identity with enhanced attributes integrated with agencies, their components, and mission partners’ active directories, as well as work planned around mobility to offer simplified access,” he said.

“To fully exploit the value of the data we need a cohesive approach to data management and simplification of information sharing across the enterprise and with mission partners,” Klimavicz said. “Likewise, in order to accelerate innovation and take advantage of advanced and autonomous technologies, DoJ must ensure strong information management is consistently practiced across our IT environment. We must simplify access to information held in any combination of DoJ and mission partner systems whenever and wherever required, limited only by law or policy, not technology.”

“To that end, my office is developing a Strategy for Information Management, Access, and Sharing as the next step in DoJ’s efforts to optimize the value and power of information,” and focusing on data management; identity, credential and access management; and information exchange standardization.

“A comprehensive information management strategy is long overdue,” he said. “This strategy will build on our successes, while emphasizing our commitment to continued progress in this area. My strategy provides a framework for ensuring that DoJ technology efforts are synchronized with the needs of our mission partners and contribute to national dialogue about our shared long-term vision and strategy for improving the national criminal justice information sharing architecture.”

Speaking more generally, Klimavicz said DoJ “is faced with the daunting task of efficiently managing routine operations while driving our enterprise modernization. Prioritization of enterprise modernization efforts are driven by performance and cyber and operational risk. Funding and the acquisition process are the pacing functions. And even when we have funding–limitations in how it can be used reduces our ability to quickly respond to changing operational needs and advances in technology, while the federal acquisition process is often cumbersome and slow.”

“In light of these barriers, my strategy is to drive information and technology at the pace of American innovation, build agility into services, support achievement of the DoJ mission, and guide the department’s initiatives and activities, while being brilliant at the basics,” the CIO said.

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John Curran
John Curran
John Curran is MeriTalk's Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.