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Government technology moves very slowly


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Let’s talk about the exciting topic of government procurement! Woo hoo?!

Seriously, the Way Government Agencies Buy Technology Is a Helpful Reference for Understanding the Pentagon abrupt cancellation on Tuesday of a technology project that was said to be essential to the modernization of the US military. When government technology goes wrong, a culprit is often a budgetary bureaucracy that accompanies the pace of technological progress.

The Defense Department project, Joint Venture Defense Infrastructure, known by the acronym JEDI such as “Star Wars”, was intended to purchase commercially available cloud-computing software to keep the US military on the new(-ish) wave of technology . Microsoft was awarded a $10 billion contract in 2019, but since then it was put on hold Alleged by Amazon that former President Donald J. Trump improperly interfered with the contract process.

of years mud slinging by tech companies He felt that he had been passed down the wrong way, perhaps spelling doom for the Jedi. This contract battle was unusually messy, but it also exposed a deeper problem that has plagued a lot of government technology: by the time a government agency buys something, the technology can outpace its prime or become its core. may not meet the requirements.

The Defense Department began preparing plans for JEDI in 2017, and it is now basically starting by asking companies to submit new contract proposals.

While reading the news, I got a flashback of a conversation I had with Robin Carnahan last year, which was recently confirmed as administrator of the US General Services Administration. “Stop thinking about digital infrastructure the way you would finance a bridge,” said Carnahan, who was working at the time. US Digital Response, an organization that helps local governments modernize their technology.

What they meant was that local, state, and federal governments typically pay for roadways or other big-ticket projects after lengthy deliberation and then try not to think much about it for the next few decades.

But this is an inherent flaw in government procurement when it comes to technology. The long government budget cycle and mindset are a mismatch for the pace of technology and the need for continuous improvement and maintenance.

Carnahan gave me the example of a state buying software for its unemployment insurance program. To qualify, the company proposing the new software must submit a proposal to the state’s labor department, and then legislators must approve the funding. That process can take two or three years.

This means that by the time a company gets the green light to build a website to handle unemployment claims, the proposed technology is several years old. Take even more time to get the website up and running according to state specifications. This is not a very good result. If you have bought a new smartphone and it came with 2016 features and functions then you will not be thrilled.

Byzantine bureaucracy and longstanding leadership also held technology back outside of government. There’s a reason the long development process for cars In-vehicle entertainment and display systems are sometimes annoying. By the time they incorporate it into your pickup, the technology will have been designed years ago.

The sad thing about government technology is that it wasn’t always so sad. The United States government, especially the military and intelligence agencies, used to have the best technology in the world. The military helped drive innovations including computer chips, powerful databases, and the Internet.

Governments still spend a fortune on technology, but the first and best customers for new products are usually people rather than the public sector. One reason is that it doesn’t take us years to make up our minds about new technology.



  • This might be the biggest ransomware attack ever: Security experts say Up to 1,500 businesses could be affected by Russian cybercriminals Those who compromised software used by thousands of organizations and demanded a ransom to fix it, writes my colleague Kellen Browning. Around the same time as that attack, the hackers are believed to be a Russian intelligence agency. Violation of a Contractor for the Republican National Committee, Nicole Pearlroth and David E. Sanger report.

  • “Good, Meh and Ugly”: Brian X Cheno writing Microsoft’s first major update to Windows in six years has been improved, including a smartphone-like interface, but that parts of Windows 11 also “feel hopelessly familiar.”

  • Pretending to be someone you’re not online is nothing new, but… A Vox writer says new technologies and shifting norms have led more people to flaunt teenage girls and black and Asian women on apps like TikTok and Instagram. its “It’s easier than ever to embrace an almost completely new identity onlinemay lead to such behavior, regardless of the consequences,” Vox writes.

During a recent heat wave in British Columbia, a Mama Bear and her cubs take a dip in the backyard pool.


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