Federal Executive Briefing; The Future of Federal Networks

March 16, 2017


Federal managers are realizing that, more than ever, their mission success relies upon responsive, capable and well-designed IT infrastructures that can accommodate increasingly heavy data demands, support diverse missions, and service all users securely, regardless of which devices they use.

Trends such as cloud services and big data analytics are already shifting today’s commercial and government landscapes. Soon, we can also expect emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), fifth-generation mobile networks (5G), and virtual reality to further accelerate data demands on government networks. Yet while many agencies strive to deploy capabilities to keep pace with these emerging trends, they are often hampered by budget and contracting constraints, an over-reliance on costly legacy equipment, and ever-present security concerns, among other factors.

What options exist as they simultaneously seek to deploy modern capabilities while also serving as effective stewards of limited tax dollars for IT budgets?

In March 2017, the Advanced Technology Academic Research Center (ATARC) — in collaboration with AT&T and Juniper Networks and marketing partners GovLoop and Government Matters — hosted a “Federal Executive Briefing on The Future of Federal Networks.”

Almost 40 federal executives, IT specialists, analysts and other practitioners discussed how the changing federal landscape is requiring new thinking about how agencies secure and employ network technologies to optimize their evolving IT infrastructures in support of diverse and challenging federal missions. This report is a summary of those discussions and presentations.

To promote a lively and candid discussion, everything said during the event was considered “not for attribution.” Consequently, the substantive points and quotations made during the event and included in this report are not attributed to specific persons.

We have organized this report around two themes that dominated the discussion. The first theme concerns the evolving challenges and environments that federal agencies face; the second concerns suggested approaches and best practices to some of those articulated challenges.