The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is moving aggressively to implement its plan to reform how the federal government buys and uses Information Technology (IT).  Last week OMB issued an progress update on the plan.  OMB’s Deputy Director for Management Jeffrey Zients, in a blog posted on OMB’s website, called closing the technology gap between the public and private sectors “one of the most effective ways we can make government work more effectively and efficiently for the American people.”  Zients said federal IT projects for years have been over budget, behind schedule, or have not delivered what they promised.  The three-pronged strategy for IT reform, begun this summer, includes :  1) review high priority IT modernization projects; 2) stop new work on financial system modernization projects pending OMB review and approval; and 3) develop a new strategy to change how the federal government acquires and uses IT.  Zients reports that the review of high priority projects is ongoing and some nonperforming projects have been terminated.  The review of financial system projects is complete and steps are being taken to achieve budget savings of up to $1.6 billion:  Some projects have been changed, some cancelled, and others have been reduced in scope, with more action to come.  Zients also described the elements of the new strategy on buying and using IT.  To eliminate structural disconnects in the government’s IT acquisition process, the new strategy will align the budget and acquisition process with the technology cycle.  It will strengthen program management by creating a career track for program managers and only approve IT projects that have effective program management teams.  It will streamline governance and increase accountability by revamping investment review boards.  The strategy will increase engagement with the IT community by actively working with industry and removing communication barriers.  Finally, the strategy will adopt light technologies and shared solutions by reducing the government’s data centers by 40 percent by 2015 and going to a cloud-first policy in the FY2012 budget process.