Interior CIO says outdated policymaking hampering adoption of new tech
Department of Interior Chief Information Officer Darren Ash said Thursday that outdated policies and processes shaped by wider political forces are hampering the adoption of new technology at federal agencies including his own.
Ash, who stepped into the top IT leadership role at Interior in September last year, is focused on modernizing the IT infrastructure of the agency and moving department’s various agencies to a hybrid cloud environment.
“What holds federal agencies back often is on the front end with policies, processes and information systems that are antiquated,” Ash said at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Digital Transformation Summit. “Then they try to solve this by purchasing custom made technology that will work with our old problematic policies and processes.”
“It’s a big issue and we need to change our policies and processes on the front end to be smarter and up-to-date, so then the technology we build will make sense and be more effective,” he added.
Ash has previously held a range of technology leadership roles across government, including as chief information officer of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission between 2007 and 2016.
He was formerly the associate CIO and deputy associate CIO at the Department of Transportation, and earlier in his career worked as a program analyst at the Department of Treasury.
Speaking with this publication at the event, said that his focus within Interior is currently on migrating the agency to Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS), building out its data centers, and improving its IT infrastructure.
He said that a “heavy heavy dose of collaboration” will be needed within Interior and with other federal agencies to solve the IT issues facing the agency.
Ash added that he is focused on eliminating the use of paper within the agency, especially for the federal records of land owners and tribal communities.