The fiscal cliff deal wasn’t really a deal in several important areas. Congress didn’t make a deal on sequestration, on the debt limit or on fiscal 2013 budgets.
Alan Balutis, a director in the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group and former chief information officer at the Commerce Department, says that unfinished business will likely lead budget pressures to intensity over the next two months.
Alan Balutis’ Top 3 for 2013
Budget pressures intensify — the recent agreement to avert going over the fiscal cliff merely pushes the tough decisions out to late February or early March when the nation will run up against the debt ceiling and the budget reductions/sequester in DoD and elsewhere will once again be ready to take effect. House Republicans clearly feel they will have more leverage then to secure budget cutbacks. Meanwhile, uncertainty will continue and inhibit investments and long-term planning. Part and parcel of all these budget battles will be a focus on cost containment, on “save to invest” and on lowest cost, technically acceptable.
Data center consolidation and cloud — Things will get harder in 2013. Agencies have taken the simplest and easiest steps both to close and consolidate and also to move applications like e-mail and public web sites to the cloud. But as we get closer to mission-central activities and applications, progress will get much harder and both the Congress and departmental CIO’s will have to up the ante if real change is to happen in how the government does business in the IT arena.
IT and acquisition reform — Legislation crafted in the House by Congressmen Issa and Connelly offers a major opportunity to revisit the IT Management Reform Act of 1996, commonly called the Clinger-Cohen Act, and see whether real change can occur in how the government acquires, implements and manages major technology projects and products. Many observers, including the Government Accountability Office, have noted the failures of CCA and I have pointed out myself that one has only a few years to get things right when legislation is enacted. After that initial time, things begin to calcify and real change will come only when things are broken up again and a new round of reform begins. I think that is what needs to happen now.
Francis Rose is the host of In Depth, which airs weekdays from 4-7 p.m. on 1500 AM in the Washington, DC metro area and online everywhere. Francis has covered all three branches of the federal government as a broadcast journalist since 1998. He joined Federal News Radio in 2006, and launched In Depth in 2008 as a daily show focused on connecting federal executives to the information they need to do their jobs better.