State Department shifts focus to aligning IT and bureau governance

Now that they've moved to an agile model, bureaus are expected to adopt enterprise technical capabilities or develop new ones they share with ITEC.
The State Department Building. (Wikimedia Commons)

The State Department wants to align its IT governance with the missions of its bureaus using the IT Executive Council the department created in April 2019, said CIO Stuart McGuigan.

The ITEC now has working groups in architecture, workforce, field first, cybersecurity, mobility, and collaboration that consist evenly of Bureau of Information Resource Management and other bureaus’ IT leadership.

The department spent the past eight months embracing a de facto, agile model for delivering remote applications to its teleworking employees, but now it’s shifting its focus to governance, McGuigan said.

“The goal of that is to bring together all of the collective requirements of the department, so we understand what needs to be done out there,” McGuigan said during an ACT-IAC event Friday. “And then feed that back to our chief architect, our [chief information security officer] and say, ‘Look, where do we have enough commonality of needs that we should be doing things in an enterprise way?'”


State Department‘s more than 50 bureaus will occasionally have different IT needs requiring specific technologies, he added. But they’ll be expected to either participate in an enterprise capability, like a cloud service with an authority to operate, or create a new technical capability they share with the rest of ITEC.

Bureaus have an “obligation” to make faster, better, more cost-effective capabilities available to the rest of the department, McGuigan said.

Occasionally bureau IT leaders are skeptical, but engagement hasn’t really been an issue because the ITEC model enables them to act independently without being “chaotic,” he added.

“The only option that’s not encouraged, that’s not allowed is to go silent, to go dark because you don’t want to engage,” McGuigan said.

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