Agile Computing Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, John Mertic, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan

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ACT-IAC Responds to Federal Request for Standards-Based Innovation to Improve Government Interoperability

The American Council for Technology and Industry Advisory Council’s (ACT-IAC) today released a paper titled “Responsible Information Sharing: Engaging Industry to Improve Standards-Based Acquisition & Interoperability.” The recommendations address a request by the U.S. General Services Administration and the Office of the Program Manager for the Information Sharing Environment for industry’s input and concerns on improving and incorporating interoperability standards in government acquisitions and grants to improve costs, reduce duplication and increase shared services.

Chief among the recommendations, ACT-IAC called for increased transparency of interoperable exchange standards to industry prior to responding to a government acquisition and stronger government leadership role as a standards convener and participant in standards development organizations and governance-setting process. The GSA Office of Government-wide Policy (OGP) and the Office of the Program Manager for the Information Sharing Environment (PM-ISE) are championing the collective development of interoperability standards and commercial solutions across strategic management processes.

“Secure and cost-effective information sharing is critical to our mission as the federal government strives for greater IT agility during a time of shrinking budgets,” said Kathleen Turco, Associate Administrator, Office of Government-wide Policy, U.S. General Services Administration. “We rely on trusted information sharing for homeland security, defense, intelligence and our economy. ACT-IAC delivered a white paper that provided recommendations that are noteworthy and actionable across all levels of the federal government.”

In the extensive report, ACT-IAC outlines recommendations that align to the four strategic government management processes of standards governance, capital planning and investment control, acquisition and system development and maintenance. By way of summary, the key recommendations include the following:

  • Focus on streamlining governance for interoperability standards;
  • Develop a standards roadmap;
  • Leverage standards conformance testing and pilots to minimize risk;
  • Incorporate standards requirements into all strategic management processes; and
  • Enhance training and outreach.

ACT-IAC’s Collaboration & Transformation Shared Interest Group (SIG) developed the paper in close collaboration with GSA-OGP and PM-ISE. The paper is informed by more than 91 survey responses from the defense, justice, homeland security, foreign affairs, intelligence and private industries. The survey was designed to better gauge industry perspective of technology standards, the extent to which industry is engaged in those standards, and to seek suggestions for creating a more trusted and collaborative relationship between government and industry when developing interoperability.

“The strategic use of interoperability standards will strengthen our national security and infrastructure. Working in partnership with industry, the government has made tremendous strides with how we interact and share information, but we still have work to do,” said Kshemendra Paul, Program Manager, Information Sharing Environment. “We must continue to work together and identify technology standards early in the development process that can be adopted government-wide. We need and welcome industry’s help in this ongoing effort. ”

As a result of the paper, the Office of the PM-ISE is developing a plan of action and is extremely interested in hearing feedback on the paper from industry and government partners. They are working with GSA and other partner government agencies, as well as Standards Development Organizations (SDOs) supported by public-private partnership organizations such as ACT-IAC to discuss standards and interoperability. GSA is also working with the Office of the PM-ISE to coordinate ISE and other cross-government efforts.

For more information about the paper or to join the discussion:
Web: www.actgov.org/SBAI; www.ise.gov/blog
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ACTIAC; https://twitter.com/GSA_OGP; http://twitter.com/shareandprotect; #actiac, #sbai, #infosharing
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Information-Sharing-Environment-4525316

About ACT-IAC – Advancing Government Through Education, Collaboration and Action

ACT-IAC has been recognized as the premier government IT community’s public-private partnership and is an example of how government and industry work together. We are a nonprofit educational organization created to advance government in serving the public through the effective application of IT resources. Our education, training, programming and collaboration opportunities enhance and advance the government IT profession. ACT-IAC’s objective, vendor and technology-neutral, and ethical forum allow government and industry to collaborate and improve government through technology. Headquartered in the Greater Washington, D.C. area, ACT-IAC also has chapters in the Pacific region (based in San Diego) and the Rocky Mountain region (based in Denver).

Learn more about our organization and how to become a member at www.actgov.org or call 703-208-4800.

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