Sixty-five percent of Federal agencies report they are embracing emerging technologies to accelerate transformation efforts, according to a new research study released by General Dynamics Information Technology (GDIT) today.

The IT company’s report unveils key findings that reveal emerging technology adoption is increasing as agencies seek enhanced cybersecurity, faster decision-making, and increased productivity. However, agencies also face similar obstacles such as tight budgets, integration with legacy systems, and the need to upskill workforces.

GDIT’s inaugural, annual research study on emerging technology in government – dubbed “Seeds of Change” – delves into a cross-section of perspectives from 425 government leaders across defense, civilian, and intelligence agencies, presenting a panoramic view of the current state and future direction of technology adoption.

The research provides insights into prioritization of emerging technologies in government such as AI, machine learning, virtual and augmented reality, 5G networks, and quantum computing. A comprehensive view of agencies’ readiness, motivations, challenges, and opportunities in implementing these technologies are also explored in the study.

“This report provides an insightful index of emerging technologies within government agencies: the pace and extent of adoption, the impact on mission objectives and the challenges met along the path of implementation,” GDIT’s Chief Technology Officer of the Federal Civilian Division, Michael Cole, and GDIT’s Senior Director of Emerging Technologies, Tim Gilday, wrote in the foreword to the report.

“As agencies continue to explore, adapt, and integrate these groundbreaking technologies, this report serves as a compass, guiding through the field of transformation and highlighting key milestones achieved and challenges overcome,” they said.

In addition to the finding that an overwhelming majority of agencies are moderately to extremely ready to embrace emerging technologies, GDIT also notes other key points:

  • One in three respondents identified increased cybersecurity as one of the biggest motivations to adopt emerging technologies, fueling the widespread integration across government;
  • Technologies that have the greatest impact on agency cybersecurity postures are AI, followed by emerging cyber capabilities, and then data and predictive analytics; and
  • Nearly 40 percent of agencies indicated budget concerns and compatibility with existing software as primary challenges.

GDIT also notes key differences between markets in the application of these technologies to meet mission objectives:

  • Forty-three percent of defense organization respondents identified increased cybersecurity as a top motivation. They are leading the market in the application of robotic process automation and 5G adoption.
  • One in three civilian agency respondents are prioritizing adoption of new technologies for real-time data and enhanced decision-making.
  • Intelligence and homeland security agencies lead in the adoption of cloud and edge computing, with over half indicating they use these technologies.

“Emerging technologies are positively impacting every part of our government, from national security to health to education to public safety,” said Ben Gianni, GDIT senior vice president and chief technology officer. “While this journey will also present new challenges, agencies that strategically adopt emerging technologies will be better positioned to improve decision-making, maximize operational efficiencies, combat escalating cybersecurity threats, and advance mission effectiveness.”

Read More About
More Topics
Cate Burgan
Cate Burgan
Cate Burgan is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.