The Information Technology Industry Council, which represents dozens of high-profile tech companies and government contracting firms, expects an expansion of current IT modernization investment and efforts under President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
Those investments will be driven in part by the government’s continued response to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as bolstering economic recovery after millions of jobs were lost in the crisis.
“The Biden-Harris administration is expected to seek expansion or at least modification of a wide range of federal functions that will be buttressed by IT,” according to an ITI analysis discussed with reporters Thursday. “Many recent and ongoing pandemic-completed practices—including remote federal technology responsiveness, service at a distance, and greater need and demands for access to resources without physical presence, among others—are creating new best practices and expectations that are likely to endure well beyond the end of this health emergency. Taken together, it becomes clear that federal technology modernization will be essential to most of the stated agenda of the Biden-Harris administration.”
In fiscal 2020, the government expected to spend upward of $90 billion on IT, and investment has generally increased year over year regardless of administration. Gordon Bitko, ITI’s senior vice president of policy for public sector, told reporters he expected a Biden administration to make significant investments in securing the government supply chain and modernizing American manufacturing and innovation—in part to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and economic recovery.
According to ITI, the conditions are ripe for “considerable investment” in federal, state and local IT systems, and should find a “comparatively more receptive audience” in a Biden-Harris administration.
Bitko said he also expects a sharpened focus on securing and enhancing domestic supply chains from a Biden-Harris administration. Like many IT issues, Bitko said there is bipartisan consensus on the importance of securing the supply chain, with disagreements generally coming on potential solutions. He advocated for the next administration to “streamline regulations” and employ risk-based decision-making regarding how American or allied nation companies do business with the public sector.
ITI’s analysis outlined several tech priority expectations under a Biden-Harris administration, including:
- Sharpen the focus on securing and enhancing domestic supply chains.
- Increasing resiliency for critical goods by redoubling efforts to bolster U.S. manufacturing and operations.
- Strengthening and expanding “Buy America” requirements.
- Reestablish the National Security Council’s top cyber coordinator policy position.
- Create a more consequential and effective Office of the National Cyber Director.
- Reinforce cyber norms and best practices for nongovernment stakeholders.
- Take a more internationalist approach to encouraging or reaching global agreement around responsible cyber behaviors and use of emerging technologies.
- Pursue considerably more investment in infrastructure (including some areas of technology infrastructure).
- Increase and tighten enforcement of ethics requirements and compliance in government contracting.