Trump signs executive order to modernize the US government’s tech


donald trump executive order
Donald Trump signs an executive order for border security and
immigration enforcement improvements, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017,
at the Homeland Security Department in

Associated Press/Pablo
Martinez Monsivais

President Donald Trump announced on Monday he has signed an
executive order creating a new technology council to “transfer
and modernize” the U.S. government’s information technology

A White House official confirmed Monday that about 20 technology
chief executives will attend meetings at the White House in early
June to talk about improving government information technology.

“Americans deserve better digital services from their Government.
To effectuate this policy, the federal government must transform
and modernize its information technology and how it uses and
delivers digital services,” Trump’s executive order dated April
28 said.

Trump has held a number of meetings with top tech chief
executives since becoming president, including Apple Inc,
Facebook Inc, Alphabet Inc, IBM Corp, Microsoft Inc, and Tesla

In March, Trump signed a separate order to overhaul the federal
government. Trump tapped Jared Kushner in March to lead a White
House Office of American Innovation to leverage business ideas
and potentially privatize some government functions as the White
House pushes to shrink government, cut federal employees and
eliminate regulations.

Officially called the American Technology Council, Chris Liddell
will be its director. He is the White House director of strategic
initiatives, and former Microsoft and General Motors co chief
financial officer.

Chris Liddell
via Wikimedia Commons

A 2016 U.S. Government Accountability Office report publicly
estimated the U.S. government spends more than $80 billion in IT
annually, but said spending has fallen by $7.3 billion since
2010. In 2015, there were at least 7,000 separate IT investments
by the U.S. government, the report said.

The $80 billion figure does not include Defense Department
classified IT systems; and 58 independent executive branch
agencies, including the Central Intelligence Agency, the report

The GAO report said U.S. government IT investments “are becoming
increasingly obsolete: many use outdated software languages and
hardware parts that are unsupported.”

The report found some agencies are using systems that have
components that are at least 50 years old. “The Department of
Defense uses 8-inch floppy disks in a legacy system that
coordinates the operational functions of the nation’s nuclear
forces,” the report said.

Minuteman III ICBM intercontinental ballistic missile
Minuteman-III missile in its silo in 1989.


The report said the Defense Department plans to update the system
by the end of September.

The Treasury Department’s business master file of tax data
pertaining to individual business income taxpayers dates back to
the 1950s and using an antiquated computer language “and operates
on an IBM mainframe.”

The council is chaired by Trump and includes the defense
secretary, homeland security secretary, budget director and
director of national intelligence.

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