US government sets up special team to avert major tech disasters

The US government has put together a team of IT experts, which it hopes could bring an end to tech disasters like last year's HeathCare.gov launch.

HealthCare.gov was set up to help US residents apply for and manage their health insurance, but came under criticism after multiple outages. It was also run out of a single data centre at launch.

The HealthCare.gov server provider was switched to HP last year, with the US government blaming Verizon, its original host, for the site's teething problems.

Steve Van Roekel, US Chief Information Officer said the new team would have "centralised, world class capability" and be made up of the US' "brightest digital talent."

"Think of this as [a team of] management consultants that helps you understand your gaps," said Roekel.

The new tech team is called the US Digital Service (USDS), and its aim is to make sure that US government agencies have good IT practices. Mikey Dickerson, a former Google engineer, who played a key role in repairing HealthCare.gov, will run the team.

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The USDS' primary focus will be to provide consultancy across a variety of tech disciplines and work to help US government agencies produce user experiences on par with the private sector.

USDS have also set out a series of guidelines with a variety of typical buzz phrases for government agencies to follow in its "Digital Services Playbook", including "understand what people need," and "use data to drive decisions."