May 27, 2022

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A bipartisan bill to strengthen state and local technology governance

4 min read

From cyber assaults to overseeing hundreds of billions in federal investing, state and area governments deal with growing engineering worries. A new bipartisan Senate invoice would reform a fifty percent-century-previous law to let federal organizations to present technologies aid to point out and regional companions and inspire increased cooperation in between governing administration agencies.

Less than the Intergovernmental Cooperation Act of 1968, Congress approved the govt branch to increase coordination with state, nearby, territorial, and tribal (SLTT) governments to support administer federal packages and grants by specialized aid. 

Sens. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) have launched the Bettering Intergovernmental Cooperation and Decreasing Duplication Act to modernize the regulation. In distinct, the invoice updates the definitions below the 1968 regulation to carry them in line with our fashionable technological know-how landscape. Also, the bill will call for the Business office of Administration and Finances (OMB) to challenge new plans and insurance policies for how to implement the regulation: 

“The monthly bill involves the OMB Director and [Office of Intergovernmental Affairs] to create a strategic strategy to increase intergovernmental cooperation to enhance coordination amongst federal and SLTT governments, boost efficiency, and cut down prices to taxpayers. The legislation would call for the OMB director to update the additional than 50-yr-previous steering on intergovernmental cooperation to guarantee far more powerful shipping and delivery of federal solutions at all stages of authorities.”

The invoice would also update the Common Solutions Administration’s (GSA) authorities to provide “specialized and technological services” to SLTT governments. In other terms, these governments would have the selection to entry GSA’s shared companies, which are now only provided to federal organizations, to enhance govt effectiveness and info technological innovation management. In addition to GSA, all other federal agencies that have been approved to develop or get unique IT or cyber abilities, this sort of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Stability Company, would also be authorized to extend all those providers straight to SLTTs.

For point out, community, territorial, and tribal governments, the bipartisan initiative has the probable to offer needed enable from Washington at a time when they confront growing cyber threats and rising worries merely administering authorities programs. 

Many condition and neighborhood governments are working to manage cyber challenges associated to possible ransomware attacks, which contain hackers thieving or encrypting sensitive knowledge and demanding payment. These govt agencies frequently have restricted sources, including staff members with cybersecurity skills, to apply very best tactics to avert these and other disruptions. More robust intergovernmental coordination with federal companies would allow for condition and local companions to obtain federal engineering tools and contracts to preserve time and means although improving upon stability. 

Through an expanded Intergovernmental Cooperation Act, the federal government could provide useful technological know-how products and services, this kind of as Login.gov, without the need of duplicating initiatives or requiring point out and community governments to obtain or create their individual know-how alternatives. GSA could also supply SLTT government associates access to federal contracts aimed to solution the White House’s government get to undertake a “zero belief architecture” to boost cyber possibility administration. 

The possible gains of improved intergovernmental cooperation would extend beyond bettering stability. 

Condition, community, territorial, and tribal governments are also handling a growing share of federal tax pounds, like federal government positive aspects that numerous citizens relied on during the COVID-19 pandemic. Improving upon the way that SLTT governments administer and oversee these plans could improve buyer assistance and effectiveness.

Strengthening coordination in between Washington and SLTT governments also has the possible to stop squander, fraud, and abuse. In accordance to the nonpartisan Authorities Accountability Place of work, federal businesses reported $281 billion in incorrect payments final calendar year. As state and regional governments deal with substantial federal plans like Medicaid and hundreds of billions of dollars in emergency paying out, billions of tax dollars are put at danger and routinely squandered owing to bad management and lax oversight. 

Enhancing intergovernmental cooperation and encouraging shared technological know-how solutions could aid tackle these problems. For instance, Congress really should also require the Place of work of Management and Spending budget and other agencies to adopt finest tactics proposed by the Federal government Accountability Business office and other watchdogs by means of these new intergovernmental collaborations to boost government oversight. 

To be positive, the federal government has a combined keep track of document taking care of its personal cyber dangers and overseeing information and facts technological know-how acquisitions systems. Also, watchdogs have identified strategies that organizations can greater work collectively to use shared companies to make improvements to efficiency. But the possible synergies and protection improvements that could be realized as a result of productive cooperation throughout federal, point out, and regional governments are as well fantastic to disregard.  

The United States faces big technology governance difficulties which includes rising cyber threats and administering added benefits programs. It’s only affordable for govt agencies at the federal, point out, and local degrees to try out to boost performance via collaboration. Updating the Intergovernmental Cooperation Act of 1968 is a commonsense stage ahead.

Dan Lips is head of policy at Lincoln Network.

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