The board responsible for managing the Technology Modernization Fund held its first meeting March 12, 2018, to establish guiding principles for their operation and evaluation process of agency modernization proposals.

Newly appointed federal Chief Information Officer Suzette Kent tweeted about the meeting of the board, which was established alongside the fund it manages by the Modernizing Government Technology Act signed into law in December 2017 as part for the National Defense Authorization Act.

The board voted on five guiding principles for their future operations:

  1. Serve the best interest of the American public;
  2. Abide by an open, transparent and fair process for evaluating project proposals;
  3. Develop an agile project implementation process that supports the mission of the fund;
  4. Promote the health, sustainability and utility of the fund; and
  5. Operate according to board rules and procedures.

According to this statement of principles, the board will accept proposals for both new projects and ongoing programs in need of a funding injection, though both will need to document that they can meet milestones established by the board.

The board also plans to publish updates, success stories, funding recommendations and additional information that allows agencies to learn from the TMF operating model along with a template for funding applications.

However, the board is currently sitting on empty coffers for the Modernization Fund, as Congress has yet to appropriate any money to fill it. Governmentwide appropriations must be passed by March 23, 2018, as the last continuing resolution passed by Congress expires by then. But there is no guarantee that those appropriations will include the $250 million in funding that was requested in both the president’s FY18 and FY19 budget proposals.

Some agencies are already moving to take advantage of the promised funds, as the Department of Agriculture is currently looking to the fund to help further its Centers of Excellence program, which aims to improve agency operations in areas like cloud and customer service.

The board members present at the vote alongside Kent were Alan Thomas, commissioner of the Federal Acquisition Administration; Mark Kneidinger, director of federal network resilience in the Department of Homeland Security’s National Programs and Protection Directorate; Matt Cutts, acting administrator of the U.S. Digital Service; Rajive Mathur, CIO of the Social Security Administration; Maria Roat, CIO of the Small Business Administration; and Charles Worthington, chief technology officer of Veterans Affairs.

Jessie Bur covers the federal workforce and the changes most likely to impact government employees.

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