The Office of the Federal CIO and U.S. Digital Service are working more in lockstep than they have ever before, according to the heads of those organizations.
In an interview on FedScoop’s the Daily Scoop Podcast, Federal CIO Clare Martorana and USDS Administrator Mina Hsiang detailed how the two federal technology units have made it a priority to work together on the administration’s top tech priorities —like cybersecurity, modernization and customer experience — where their predecessors weren’t as closely partnered.
“We represent the White House’s technology team,” said Martorana. “And so it’s important for us to be working together on the most strategic parts of the president’s agenda.”
That wasn’t always the case with past administrations, in which the federal CIO and USDS served similar missions but less frequently partnered on top tech initiatives, despite both being housed in the same agency — the Office of Management and Budget. In fact, it was an early criticism of USDS that it didn’t work closely enough with the Federal CIO, per the Government Accountability Office.
“I think we’re more aligned on approach and objectives than ever before,” Hsiang said. “And that just makes it much more straightforward to work together.”
She continued: “Clare and I both have sufficient experience in this arena now to sort of see how it evolves. And my time spent in agencies, we’re much more focused on capacity building and supporting agencies to sort of build long-term capabilities than we had been in the past because that is an option now and sort of has worked well in an array of places. So we’re definitely looking to do that a lot more. And obviously, that requires really close partnership with Clare and her team.”
Martorana got her start in government as part of the USDS team, where she worked with Hsiang previously, a natural starting point for the partnership between the two teams.
“The fact that Clare is now the federal CIO is like USDS participating in capacity building,” Hsiang said of USDS’s evolution. “We got Clare in here, she was engaged and trained up. We have a number of other CIOs who come through USDS.”
Martorana and Hsiang in the podcast go on to discuss how they’re partnering to deliver on the president’s management agenda and much more, including the priorities set out in the new customer service executive order. Listen to the episode to hear more about how the Office of the Federal CIO and USDS are partnering on the administration’s top IT objectives.