Federal Government

Department Spotlight: IT Evolution for the Treasury

Continuing our examination of the IT priorities of federal agencies and organizations, we turn our attention to the Department of Treasury. The Department of Treasury seeks to build and maintain a powerful economy, creating strong economic opportunity and jobs for US citizens. Even more, the department seeks to strengthen national security by maintaining the integrity of the financial system, both at home and abroad, and managing the US government’s finances and resources effectively. The mission of Treasury underscores its role as an overseer of U.S. economic and financial systems, and with tax day coming up, there will be increased focus on the department, the Internal Revenue Service in particular, and how their IT systems respond to peak usage.

Cybersecurity in the Treasury

The IRS has is keenly focused on meeting today’s heightened demands for authentication of users and protection of data. IRS IT officials hold their services to a high standard and have even taken tools offline if and when they feel they are not meeting the most stringent security standards. Just recently, IRS suspended its Identity Protection Personal Identification Number (IP PIN) program, which offers taxpayers who have suffered an identity attack an additional layer of security, in order to strengthen the tools security features.

Similarly, in the larger, government-wide war on cyber criminals, Treasury is playing a key role. The department recently released an abridged version of a proposed regulation for imposing cyber-related sanctions to foreign actors, whether individuals, groups or nation-states. Treasury received a presidential sanction to take the lead on developing – and ultimately applying – these penalties. Department officials are hopeful that this new order will help the US government “expose and isolate those behind malicious cyber activity.”

Open Data

In this year’s budget, the Bureau of Fiscal Service at Treasury was allocated $19.8 million through fiscal year 2017 for activities related to implementation of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act), a massive open government and financial management effort. The goal of DATA ACT is to standardize how federal agencies report their spending, particularly in terms of transparency. At present, there is no unified, detailed view for citizens of how the government spends tax dollars. Citizens are unable track money from Congressional appropriations to the awards made to local communities. Interestingly, Treasury is releasing their work on this project in small increments, getting feedback, and incorporating it into subsequent versions, making it the first government-wide agile project.  The first piece to be officially released will be the DATA Act schema, a standard format for agencies to use when reporting their financial data, which is currently undergoing public revisions.

Data Center Consolidation

Treasury is pioneering the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative, which seeks to close 40% of government data centers in order to combat rampant data center growth and save the government billions. The department is one of the leaders in data center consolidation signaling a willingness to move to newer methods of storage and processing. Along with Agriculture, Defense, and Interior, Treasury has accounted for more than 84% of the total number of data center closures since the act’s initial release in 2010. More, Defense, Homeland Security, Commerce, and Treasury combined have saved taxpayers nearly 86% of the total savings attributed to the act.

The Department of Treasury is a powerful government organization and is leading the charge in agile operations, data center consolidation, and combatting cybersecurity threats. Let us know what other innovations you see coming from Treasury in the comments!s

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