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Creating a Future-ready, Digital Government Today

The Federal government released The Digital Government Strategy on May 23, 2012. This 12-month action plan for the deployment of new technology is designed to enable the delivery of digital information and services anytime, anywhere, on any device, safely and securely-throughout the Federal workforce and to the American public. This strategy was made possible through the collaboration of many throughout the federal government including, the Federal Chief Information Officer's Council, the Federal Web Managers Council, and representatives from numerous departments and agencies. My thanks go to Federal Chief Information Officer (CIO) Steve VanRoekel and Federal Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Todd Park for their leadership in the development of this strategy.Cloud computing and the continual evolution of mobile devices, collaboration tools, computing power advances, and social media expansion are revolutionizing Information Technology (IT). These advances are changing the way business is conducted inside and outside the Federal government. Not only is this an exciting and novel transformation, it also brings a true opportunity to deliver real innovation with less.

As CIO of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), I know firsthand that the establishment of common standards and platforms and the use of new mobility capabilities are critical to leveraging data to meet the mission needs of this Department. Composed of 22 components, DHS is one of the largest Federal agencies. This size and diversity requires effective information sharing through advanced technology with sound security to support the Department's critical mission. I will highlight two DHS initiatives underway-shared platform and mobility-that support the new digital government strategy.

DHS is committed to providing and supporting the shared platform for digital government.
The BPA enables DHS to establish Web Content Management as a Service-commonly known as WCMaaS throughout the IT industry-which is an open source content management platform for hosting public Web sites and applications. Based on the Drupal Content Management System, an industry leading open source technology, this solution provides new and innovative capabilities, delivering improved citizen-centric capabilities while ensuring the adoption of solid Content Management System (CMS) services that support timely Web maintenance as well as increased capabilities for accurate content updates.

DHS also is committed to embracing mobility.
The use of laptops, smart phones, and tablets in government agencies continues to rapidly grow. Mobile computing enables the implementation of effective telework across the Federal government to ensure the continuity of operations as well as reduce management costs and the Federal government's footprint, which ultimately leads to higher-performing and more efficient organizations.

Workplace as a Service (WPaaS) will provide a virtual desktop interface that looks and feels like a traditional desktop while leveraging the power, security, and data provided by the department's two Enterprise Data Centers. This virtual desktop enables DHS personnel to perform their mission wherever there is access to the Internet or the DHS internal network, including through the use of handheld devices like smart phones and tablets. WPaaS delivers multiple benefits by replacing traditional desktops and laptops with virtual computing that provides as-needed operating systems and applications at monthly, pay-per-use service with scalability-all supported by a robust security model. WPaaS promises to reduce operating costs, increase operational flexibility, and simplify administrative management, while efficiently using resources by eliminating surpluses of outdated and underutilized equipment.

Future-ready, digital government.
The essential elements of interoperability and openness, reduced and transparent operational costs, strategic planning from the outset and effective portfolio and program governance ultimately enable the government to move to and effectively capitalize on new technologies in the 21st century. The Digital Government Strategy provides a solid execution plan to leverage the power of today's technologies and provide more open, efficient, and effective services for the American public.

Editor's Note: This blog was originally posted on CIO.gov.

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