The call for fresh investments in several major Federal IT areas featured in the new “Resilient, Keeping your WITS – Workforce, Innovation, Technology, Security – About You” report relies in part on survey data gathered from 300 Federal IT leaders in late 2020 as part of the project to identify how the Federal government can improve resilience as the country emerges from the coronavirus pandemic.

Conclusions from the report by MeriTalk, ACT-IAC, and the Partnership for Public Service – compiled with the further input of dozens of current and former Federal IT officials – focus on the pressing need for more investments in the latest tech, top-notch security, workforce advancement, and a renewed culture of innovation aimed at improving how government serves citizens across the board.

The three organizations are sponsoring the Resiliency Colloquium on Feb. 9 for an indepth discussion with Federal leaders about the report’s findings, and the path forward.

Here’s a look at some of the top-level survey findings that inform the new report – and illuminate the often daunting gaps between where Federal IT leaders want their agencies to be, and what holds them back from making quicker progress.

Top-Level Findings

Viewing government’s role in the COVID-19 pandemic through a wide lens, most of those surveyed (85 percent) agreed that the pandemic and government tech-driven response to it qualified as a “watershed moment” for Federal IT modernization.

But just below that level of broad agreement, Federal IT leaders flagged the perceived gap between present and aspirational performance – with 67 percent saying their agencies have improved resilience during the pandemic, but only 27 percent willing to give their organizations an “A” grade on resilience.

Elements of Resiliency

Drilling down deeper, less than half of those surveyed felt “satisfied” with their agencies’ focus on four pillars of resilience:

  • On the security front, only 44 percent expressed satisfaction;
  • 36 percent said they were satisfied with focus on IT;
  • 29 percent felt satisfaction with focus on human capital; and
  • Just 26 percent expressed satisfaction with focus on innovation.

Regarding security, the Federal IT leaders listed budget constraints, legacy IT, and expanded threat landscapes as ongoing challenges.

Further, 42 percent said at least half of the IT they use for work needs to be updated or replaced. The vast majority (85 percent) agreed that their agencies faced IT skills gaps, and about one-third (33 percent) said they “strongly agreed” that their agencies encourage them to come up with new and better ways of doing things.

MeriTV Inaugural Episode

Tune in to the inaugural episode of MeriTV to further explore the research with insights from ACT-IAC, Google Cloud, and the Partnership for Public Service. Hear the priorities, aspirations, and pain points of Federal IT executives and mission owners as they strive to create a more resilient future.

February 9 Colloquium

Please join MeriTalk, ACT-IAC, and the Partnership for Public Service on Feb. 9 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. EST for the Resiliency Colloquium virtual event where Federal technology leaders will lead an indepth discussion of the report’s findings.

Featured speakers include:

  • Dorothy Aronson, CIO and chief data officer, National Science Foundation
  • Sean Connelly, TIC program manager, Office of the Chief Technical Officer, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency, Department of Homeland Security
  • Jane Datta, assistant administrator and chief human capital officer, National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • Jack Galvin, associate deputy assistant secretary, Department of Veteran Affairs
  • Trevor Norris, deputy assistant secretary for human resources and chief human capital officer, U.S. Department of Treasury
  • Tony Scott, former Federal CIO and CEO, Tony Scott Group
  • Alex Smith, chief technology officer, Information System Division, Drug Enforcement Administration, Department of Justice
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