Groundwork for administration’s IT modernization efforts

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Daniel Chenok, executive director of the IBM Center for the Business of Government, discusses the history of federal IT modernization, and how it has progressed over four administrations.


IT modernization in the federal government has been an iterative effort over the last two decades. The bipartisan efforts began during the Clinton administration, where Daniel Chenok, currently executive director of the IBM Center for the Business of Government, saw the evolution of IT policy firsthand.

“You can really draw a line from the current administration’s efforts back to the work that was done 20 years ago. It starts with the Clinger-Cohen act which created the position of CIO across the agencies, to really think about how to modernize technology and create a leader in an agency to do that,” Chenok said. “The creation of the first government portal FirstGov, now known as USA.gov, was really a cross agency modernization effort. Then the Bush administration built on that with the e-government initiatives. These initiatives were citizen-focused, to try to get agencies to work together to provide better service… so all of those things created a pathway for the current administration to learn from and build on.”