OMB Set to Release New Federal Cloud Computing Strategy

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will release a new government-wide Federal cloud computing strategy sometime in the next few months, OMB Digital Services Expert Bill Hunt said Wednesday at ATARC’s Cloud & Data Center Summit.

The new strategy–tentatively titled Cloud Smart–is the successor to the Federal government’s Cloud First policy, which was first articulated in November 2010 and became the major tenet of the overarching Federal Cloud Computing Strategy released in February 2011.

“We’re trying to find new ways for people to get to cloud, and the problem is we’re using the same old approaches,” Hunt said. “We have a lot of different individual policies, that are in these little tiny siloes, that address one thing over here, and another thing over there. We haven’t really been looking holistically across the government.”

Hunt outlined three key areas that the new strategy will address–security, workforce, and procurement–where success seen by some agencies should be translated to more formalized approaches in the future.

“We’re really looking at a few different areas where we’ve seen success across government, and trying to leverage these best practices,” he said. “Those are the three main priority areas we’ve seen where agencies that are really doing it right have been working to invest.”

Hunt said that while there is much to be gleaned from cloud progress in the last seven years, agencies’ move to the cloud still isn’t where it needs to be.

“Cloud is still not widely adopted across the government,” he said. “A quarter of the spend has been moved over that way, but we still have a ways to go.”

Hunt noted that a component of the 2017 Report to the President on Federal IT Modernization required OMB to update the Federal Cloud Computing Strategy. He said that OMB has been working for much of the past year to address that mandate.

“We really just tried to address why we haven’t moved, why agencies are just not getting where we want them to go, where Congress wants them to go, where everybody universally agrees that we should be going,” Hunt said. “We really just tried to look through the actual barriers agencies have been facing and really account for those as much as we can through policy, and by fixing existing policy.”

Hunt said the Cloud Smart policy will follow similar OMB procedural steps seen in the past–inviting feedback to refine the document before it is finalized.

“Definitely going to put it out there for public comment, and definitely going to have all of the feedback for everybody to get involved and provide comments on where we’ve gotten it wrong before it comes out,” he said.

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