In his latest budget, President Obama is putting serious money behind government tech. The new budget calls for $105 million to create new digital strike forces in 25 agencies across the government. The new teams would be modeled on the US Digital Service that was founded to repair Healthcare.gov after its disastrous launch, led by former Google engineer Mikey Dickerson. The plan is to make the government better at ambitious tech projects by managing technology more actively within the government and relying less on independent contractors.
The budget needs to pass through Congress before the plan becomes a reality, and the digital provision could easily be stripped out in Congress, but it suggests that the lessons of Healthcare.gov haven't been lost on President Obama. Many saw the high-profile site failure as proof of long-standing problems in the federal procurement process, but so far, the president has seen small, agile groups like the Digital Service as the best response. "This team of America’s best digital experts has worked in collaboration with federal agencies on their high impact, citizen-facing programs to improve how citizens and businesses experience government services," the White House said in a statement.