modernization (alphaspirit/

GSA's plans for modernizing IT infrastructure

Based on direction from the White House, the General Services Administration’s Technology Transformation Service is taking the lead to help agencies modernize their IT infrastructure. Joanne Collins Smee, acting director of TTS and deputy commissioner of the Federal Acquisition Service, outlined GSA's priorities for the next year at a March 1 AFCEA Bethesda event.

“We currently have a series of processes and infrastructure that are not where they need to be,” Smee said.  “We are taking the best practices from industry and replicating them for government.”

Smee listed action items from the American Technology Council’s December report on IT modernization, the creation of five Centers of Excellence at the Department of Agriculture and the administration of the Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) as her top priorities to modernize government systems.

The ATC report is a wide-ranging plan that includes 50 action items related to shared services, Trusted Internet Connection policies and cloud migration.  Smee said GSA is involved in 25 of the items listed in the report.

The report's goals are is to develop application and data level protections, improve visibility at the network level and ensure policy and talent changes that take advantage of modern technology “but don’t downgrade performance,” she said.

The CoEs were announced in December, and industry was asked to bid to fill staffing needs.  Smee said first CoE contracts will be coming soon, and more will be awarded at the end of 2018 for the execution components and the “heavy lifting.”

The CoEs are focused on cloud adoption, IT infrastructure optimization, customer experience, contact centers and service delivery.

For now, Smee said, GSA is “laser-focused” on building the CoEs at the Department of Agriculture. The CoEs will be staffed by government contractors for two years before USDA leadership takes over the major duties.

GSA also is involved in distributing funds from the Modernizing Government Technology Act through the TMF. Approximately $500 million was authorized to be distributed across the federal government, but Smee reminded the audience that no money has been appropriated yet.

On March 1, the Office of Management and Budget announced the TMF board members.  The board will be chaired by Federal CIO Suzette Kent and include representatives from GSA, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Digital Service, Social Security Administration, Small Business Administration and Department of Veterans Affairs. The board's first meeting is on March 12. 

About the Author

Sara Friedman is a reporter/producer for GCN, covering cloud, cybersecurity and a wide range of other public-sector IT topics.

Before joining GCN, Friedman was a reporter for Gambling Compliance, where she covered state issues related to casinos, lotteries and fantasy sports. She has also written for Communications Daily and Washington Internet Daily on state telecom and cloud computing. Friedman is a graduate of Ithaca College, where she studied journalism, politics and international communications.

Friedman can be contacted at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @SaraEFriedman.

Click here for previous articles by Friedman.


  • Records management: Look beyond the NARA mandates

    Pandemic tests electronic records management

    Between the rush enable more virtual collaboration, stalled digitization of archived records and managing records that reside in datasets, records management executives are sorting through new challenges.

  • boy learning at home (Travelpixs/

    Tucson’s community wireless bridges the digital divide

    The city built cell sites at government-owned facilities such as fire departments and libraries that were already connected to Tucson’s existing fiber backbone.

Stay Connected