The MOVE IT Act: Another Strategy for Replacing Aging Federal IT

Posted by Angie Petty on July 26, 2016

Constitution Ave

The MOVE IT Act (Modernizing Outdated and Vulnerable Equipment and Information Technology Act of 2016) was introduced to both branches of Congress on July 14th by Representatives Will Hurd (R-TX) and Gerry Connolly (D-VA), and Senators Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Tom Udall (D-NM).

The MOVE IT Act aims to reduce wasteful spending and enhance information security by accelerating the federal government’s transition to cloud computing, according to a Hurd press release. The Act builds on FITARA to modernize federal IT infrastructure.  It also enhances the FEDRAMP certification process by improving collaboration with industry so that the necessary cloud solutions are available to agencies when they are ready to transition.  

“Americans want an efficient, effective and accountable government,” Sen. Moran said in a press release. “Bringing our government’s aging IT systems into the 21st century is an important step in that direction. Where appropriate, cloud‐based solutions are a more secure and fiscally responsible alternative that will save our nation billions of dollars for years to come.”

The House version of the bill is also sponsored by Reps. Ted Lieu (D‐CA), Robin Kelly (D‐lL), Barbara Comstock (R‐VA), Jaime Herrera‐Beutler (R‐WA), Derek Kilmer (D‐WA) and John Culberson (R‐TX). The Senate version is also sponsored by Sens. Steve Daines (R‐MT) and Mark Warner (D‐VA).

The legislation contains the following major components:

  • Reforms and streamlines the existing FedRAMP process, which standardizes and reduces the cost of assessing the security of cloud computing services used by federal agencies
  • Allows federal agencies to use a more flexible “IT working capital fund” to replace outdated IT systems, with savings reinvested or returned to the U.S. Treasury
  • Implements new oversight mechanisms – including semi‐annual reports – to ensure robust congressional oversight of federal IT modernization efforts

One of the most significant aspects of the MOVE Act is the establishment within each covered agency an IT systems modernization and working capital fund. The IT working capital fund would be funded through one of the following mechanisms:

  • Reprogramming of funds intended for O&M of legacy systems
  • Transfers of funds where specifically provided for by existing law
  • Cost savings realized on IT projects
  • Discretionary appropriations
The IT working capital funds could only be used for replacement of legacy IT systems, cloud computing transitions, information security, or DME activities.

Hurd positions the bill as an alternative to the administration’s proposed Information Technology Modernization Fund (ITMF) to establish a government-wide $3.1 billion revolving fund to modernize outdated IT systems introduced by Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) in April.  The ITMF would be managed by a board at GSA where agencies would apply for and pay back funding.  The MOVE IT Act does not supply any additional upfront funding to agencies, but allows them to reprogram existing funds.

Industry has been generally supportive of the ITMF, although some are concerned about the added authority that would be given to GSA as a gatekeeper for the funds.

Rich Beutel, a key drafter of the FITARA and former House Oversight Committee staffer told FCW, "These two bills are complimentary to each other. We think this [MOVE IT Act] is going to be more sellable to the appropriators.”

The House and Senate are recessed until September, so it is unclear if either bill will be taken up during the lame duck session.