With projects ranging from safer Web browsing to a 21st century air traffic control system, federal, state, and local agencies demonstrate that they, too, can apply IT in critical and novel ways.
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Agencies across the federal government are taking their first steps into cloud computing, often with help from the General Services Administration. From the time that the Federal Cloud Computing Initiative was launched in September 2009, GSA has played a central role in Uncle Sam's move to the cloud. GSA CIO Casey Coleman is chairman of the CIO Council's influential Cloud Computing Executive Steering Committee, while Katie Lewin is cloud computing program manager at GSA.
A cornerstone of GSA's cloud computing program is the Apps.gov portal, where government employees can subscribe to pre-approved productivity and business apps offered as a service. The pending introduction of infrastructure as a service on Apps.gov -- including storage, servers and web hosting -- will make it possible for government agencies to sign up for on-demand, virtualized IT resources with the same ease that businesses now tap into Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud. That should make federal IT operations more flexible and adaptable.