PHILADELPHIA — With recent kick-off of the new fiscal year for the federal government, Federal Chief Information Officer Suzette Kent and GSA administrator Emily Murphy have a unified message: continue IT modernization.

“That should actually never stop,” said Kent Oct. 21 at the American Council for Technology-Industry Advisory Council Imagine Nation conference in Philadelphia. “It’s something that should be on our agenda all the time. Not just now, not just part of this administration, but as part of the way that we use technology as an accelerator to improve across every single mission."

Coinciding with their speeches was an announcement from the Technology Modernization Fund for additional modernization projects.

The TMF, which doles out money to agencies for IT projects, announced two new modernization awards totaling $12 million: $8 million to the Department of Agriculture and $4 million to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The Agriculture project will replace a paper-based, manual IT system for its food inspection and certification. The award to the EEOC will implement a cloud-based charge and case management system.

“These two proposals both have a key elements in common: they are each systems with thousands of customer touch points throughout the country, both agencies are leveraging innovative commercial capabilities to enable their respective digital transformations," a release from OMB said.

In her speech, Murphy laid out the outlook for several on-going GSA projects that will affect federal employees and industry.

New Pay System

GSA recently awarded the first task order for its NewPay HR system, a project that the GSA has been working on for the last year. The TMF gave GSA $20 million earlier this year to work on the project. In the upcoming year, Murphy said that NewPay looks to “move forward in the process.”

“This year we’re going to be spending time working on the interfaces, working transition plans and getting the first customers moved over on the new payroll systems,” Murphy said.

Fleet consolidation

The GSA manages more than 200,000 federal government vehicles, while another 400,000 are managed by other agencies. The agency is studying how much the government could save if GSA managed 200,000 more vehicles currently managed by other agencies.

In FY19, GSA studied management logistics of more than 70,000 vehicles at six agencies.

“We found that conservatively if we were to consolidate those under GSA’s management, it would save taxpayers $120 million a year,” Murphy said.

She said next steps are working with OMB to figure out how to transfer those vehicles to GSA.

New contract writing system

GSA is also planning to change its contract writing system, called “contract acquisition lifecycle management system,” or CALMS. The GSA will be putting out the final request for quotation for the new program next month.

Murphy said it plans to make an award in the spring, with the first pilot deployed on the non-multi-award schedule.

Andrew Eversden covers all things defense technology for C4ISRNET. He previously reported on federal IT and cybersecurity for Federal Times and Fifth Domain, and worked as a congressional reporting fellow for the Texas Tribune. He was also a Washington intern for the Durango Herald. Andrew is a graduate of American University.

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