Federal CIO Suzette Kent celebrated the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) release of its new TIC (Trusted Internet Connections) 3.0 policy today as a major milestone in the Trump administration’s efforts to complete meaningful updates of Federal IT policies that are more than five years old.

“I am very pleased to announce that this afternoon the Trusted Internet Connection policy will be released,” Kent said today during a speech at the Dell Technologies Forum. She noted that the former TIC policy dates to 2007, and as such was written to accommodate what is now distant history on the larger technology curve.

The new TIC 3.0 policy, Kent said, “includes new pathways to take advantage of modern technologies and capabilities of software that weren’t even imagined when that original policy was written.”

The release of the new TIC policy also marks a big milestone for Federal IT policy-making, as it was the last major policy that had not been updated in the last five years, Kent said.  Other big policy updates in the past 18 months include work on Cloud Smart, the Data Center Optimization Initiative, and ongoing work on the Federal Data Strategy.  On that last item, Kent said the final version “will be coming out soon.”

Work to update key IT policies reflects “how we are actually using  policy to break down barriers and enable the Federal government and the agencies to use market-leading capabilities,” Kent said. “Updated, relevant policy can drive real transformation,” she emphasized.

Kent also said her office is focused on maintaining contacts with industry and “other engagement mechanisms to ensure” that existing policies “don’t sit around for decades again.”

“I know there’s a lot when you think about policy – there’s a lot that’s out there,” she said. “And those of you who are in the ecosystem of serving the government – whether you’re a vendor, you’re a government support group, or you’re one of the leaders in the agencies – you know that navigating that environment sometimes is complex. So the way that we can use policy to make that more clear, more direct, helps us accelerate real transformation.”

The Federal CIO then turned to upcoming challenges not entirely set in the older policy realm.

“Today does mark a completion, kind of turning a page on one set of objectives, and getting the barriers of the old stuff out of the way,” she said.

Marking a “shift of energy and focus,” Kent spoke about renewed emphasis on progress on the cross-agency priority goals in the President’s Management Agenda [PMA] published last year.  She said the administration has made plenty of progress on that front, but that the work was far from finished.

Part of the PMA’s direction was made up of specific items, but the agenda also demands “continuous improvement” on numerous other tech imperatives, she said. Among those, Kent listed cloud-based email, cybersecurity and the Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation Program, automation through artificial intelligence, workforce reskilling efforts, installation and training for agency chief data officers, and supply chain security.

“We are turning the page on the older technology” issues, and “we are full speed ahead on the PMA,” she said.

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Melissa Harris