US Federal Government: Key Imperatives Driving Your Application Modernization Strategy


As mission success increasingly relies on virtual settings, U.S. federal agencies are increasingly under pressure to deliver streamlined, secure digital experiences to more users than ever before while keeping costs low. Legacy applications and dated infrastructure can hamper these efforts. In this article, we’ll explore why application modernization is critical for federal agencies and provide clear examples of what your agency stands to gain from successful implementation.

Why App Modernization Must Be a Top Priority

To keep up with business imperatives and emerging security threats, it’s no longer possible to stick with what worked in the past. In short, modernizing your agency’s applications has gone from “nice to have” to “mission critical.”

Bad Digital Experiences

As technology has evolved, federal agencies have had to do their best to keep up while minding budgetary and resource constraints. Over time, that has inevitably led to agencies running dated and complex legacy architectures that are unable to deliver the digital experience that both civilians and government employees have come to expect. What’s more, without these modern, positive digital experiences, agencies are finding it more difficult to maintain mission effectiveness.

Unmanageable Monoliths

A common issue faced by federal agencies are legacy monolithic applications. These apps are often prone to human error, complex, and static. It’s possible that agencies have even lost track of just how many applications they have. The Defense Logistics Agency, for example, found that they had over 1,300 systems and 194 applications in place.1 This amount of legacy tech sprawl creates inefficient manual processes, systems that don’t integrate with each other, and other efficiency setbacks.

Changing Security Threats

The enormity of the U.S. government’s online footprint automatically makes it a prime target for attacks. That—coupled with the intensely sensitive data housed within that footprint—makes security a huge concern. According to the 2020 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, about 90% of hacking-related breaches find entry points through web applications.2

Key Aspects of a Successful App Modernization Strategy

1. Enable rapid application innovation

One of the most important aspects of modernizing your IT ecosystem is freeing up your organization to operate in a way that has never been possible before. By implementing strategic automation and management solutions that integrate into existing CI/CD pipelines, you’ll be able to streamline app development, delivery, and deployment across multi-cloud environments.

2. Increase agility

Slow and steady no longer wins the race. Organizations today need to be more nimble and with fewer slowdowns in order to keep up. The keyword is agility. Not only do you need to develop and deploy applications more quickly, you must also be able to pivot at any moment and respond to issues faster than ever before. How do you achieve true business agility? Your organization must modernize legacy applications into ones that are streamlined, easy to use, responsive, and scalable.

3. Optimize application security

App security has always been, and will always be, a top concern for federal agencies It’s becoming increasingly tricky for federal agencies to balance that right security controls for legacy and modern apps. You need the right flexible security posture in place to identify, react to, defend, and secure application threats in any environment at any time. In fact, the Report to the President on Federal IT Modernization recommends that agencies prioritize data-level protections and fully leverage modern virtualized technologies.4

Benefits of Application Modernization in Federal Agencies


Put simply, by enabling rapid innovation, your organization can do more with less.

You’ll be able to:

  • Reduce app TCO by reducing the number of legacy apps as well as the time and resources they require for maintenance.
  • Identify and mitigate bugs in minutes instead of months.
  • Eliminate tech sprawl by consolidating platforms and toolsets.
  • Avoid resource-heavy manual security and networking tasks and focus on innovating.
  • Improve time-to-market while reducing risk by automating your CI/CD pipeline


When you move away from legacy infrastructure into modern applications and mainframes, you’re enabling your agency and its employees to fully gain the benefits of today’s digital world.

You’ll be able to:

  • Update and scale apps more quickly and easily as needed.
  • Accelerate innovation through simplified app lifecycle management.
  • Reduce CapEx by not purchasing new hardware every time you update your system.
  • Optimize and protect containerized applications without introducing costly slowdowns.
  • Automate and orchestrate app security and delivery solutions with modern toolsets.


Given how quickly threats evolve, it’s mission critical that your application security posture is able to adapt at any time. Modernizing your applications is the key.

You’ll be able to:

  • Protect applications in any environments with safeguards designed to adapt to new threats.
  • Implement automatic security policies into your code pipeline to minimize gaps and ensure security is baked into every app.
  • Eliminate most post-deployment app vulnerabilities which reduces dev and deployment times.
  • Securely manage APIs across clouds and data centers.

It's time. From reducing complexity to supporting rapid innovation, modernizing your application strategy and portfolio will enable you to stay ahead of security threats, keep pace with civilian and employee digital expectations, and create more incredible digital experiences.

Ready to get started? F5 federal solutions have been purposely designed to help U.S. federal agencies streamline the process of modernizing applications.

1 DLA’s application modernization focused on business needs, not technology requirements, Federal News Network

2 2020 Data Breach Investigations Report, Verizon

3 TSA’s digital services team accelerates delivery of new capabilities, Federal News Network

4 Report to the President on Federal IT Modernization, United States Chief Information Officer

Related Content

Federal App Modernization Strategy

Find out where to focus modernization efforts to maximize impact on mission success.

Get the eBook ›