Bold Predictions for Government in 2016


As 2015 winds down, I have seen a lot of year end wrap ups of the year's most popular stories and an equal number of "what to expect in 2016" columns focused on things like big data, the rise of IoT, the future of FITARA and how FedRAMP might evolve.

If you're a fan of the NFL you're probably familiar with a segment the NFL Network does every Sunday called BOLD predictions where the analysts make relatively outrageous predictions for passing numbers, touchdowns, rushing yards and the like just for fun. Sometimes what they predict happens, but more often their predictions are way off base. This blog is more in line with the NFL Network's version.

So here are my BOLD predictions for what to expect from government in 2016 along with my thoughts of the chances of these things actually happening.

1. Congress passes and the President signs all 12 appropriations bills individually before the September 30th deadline for the first time since 1994. No continuing resolutions. (*In 1996 Congress passed and President Clinton signed all 13 appropriations bills but not individually, instead using 6 separate "mini-busses" to get through the process)

Chance of this actually happening: 1%, especially with the political conventions taking place in July there is little time to get much done so expect another series of continuing resolutions making planning by agencies and contractors difficult.

2. FedRAMP is moved out of GSA and relocated to the Department of Homeland Security to provide it with more resources and better align its security mission with DHS's role in CDM.

Chance of this actually happening: 50%, as there have been a lot of rumors lately that this is on the table.

3. FedRAMP is dissolved as the Obama Administration gives in the industry who have been increasingly frustrated with the FedRAMP program and the amount of time, effort and money it costs to get through the approval process.

Chance of this actually happening: 20%

4. All major agencies meet the OMB mandated FITARA requirements.

Chance of this actually happening: 5%, with the most likely scenario being that agencies continue to work toward realigning their organizations to meet the CIO authority requirement of the new law, while understanding that there will be differences in how some of the largest federal departments implement the law. I expect another department or two will end up exempting a large component agency from the requirements of FITARA.

5. The new GSA shared services office (moved over from Treasury) announced in late 2015 is a rousing success.

Chances of this actually happening: 7.45% or about the same as catching a baby unicorn and raising it in your backyard. More likely agencies will continue to struggle with the OMB mandates to move to key functions like HR and financial management to federal shared service providers and the shared service providers themselves will continue to struggle to find the resources needed to provide service to the big agencies. Maybe there's a little more hope (15.33%) that OMB and GSA will take a step back and realize the current path is likely unsustainable and rechart their course making room for more innovation and commercial entities to more actively participate in the shared services initiative but I am not holding my breath.

6. There's a government shutdown.

Chances of this actually happening: Too high, but probably only 25% or so (i.e. 25X higher than the chances of Congress passing all appropriations bills on time). As discussed above, with the political conventions in July and Presidential politics taking all of the airtime post-convention, Congress has little time to figure out its path forward on the budget so some sort of gridlock is a possibility. More likely we will see a series of CRs.

7. There's another massive data breach.

Chances of this actually happening: 50%, because as we have seen agencies are far too slow at implementing common sense IT security solutions, leaving government personnel and related sensitive information vulnerable to hackers. It's okay though because all of us still have our credit monioring and ID protection from the OPM breach in 2015.

Let's get together same time next year and see how we did.

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