Suzette Kent: Federal Tech Community ‘Thinking Forward’ Amid Health Emergency

Suzette Kent
Suzette Kent

Suzette Kent, federal chief information officer and a 2020 Wash100 Award winner, told Nextgov in an interview published Tuesday how the federal information technology community responds to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The IT leaders in the federal community, our contractor partners and our vendors are stepping up in incredible ways,” Kent told the publication. “They are part of answering the question, ‘How can we?’ They’re being bold, they’re thinking forward.”

A new Office of Management and Budget guidance is pushing agencies to look at telework from a different light to achieve continuity in operations. The guidance directs federal departments and agencies to “offer maximum telework flexibilities to all current telework eligible employees, consistent with operational needs of the departments and agencies as determined by their heads” amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Start with the frame of what mission—what thing—am I trying to do, and then let’s figure out how we get there,” Kent said. “Asking the question backwards: ‘Why can’t we do the thing that enables continuity and remote work?’”

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