In a move that will deplete nearly half of its first year funding, the Technology Modernization Board announced June 7 that it had awarded $45 million to three agencies for IT modernization efforts.
The Departments of Energy, Housing and Urban Development, and Agriculture each received $10 million or more in funding to help speed along major IT initiatives within their respective agencies, as part of funding established by the Modernizing Government Technology Act.
Though MGT passed in December 2017 with a proposed budget of $250 million for the Technology Modernization Fund, FY18 appropriations only allocated $100 million. Despite this lower funding level, the board pushed hard for agencies to apply for portions of funding.
“The Technology Modernization Fund is an innovative funding model that allows agencies to accelerate key IT modernization projects in support of the President’s Management Agenda,” said Margaret Weichert, deputy director of management at the Office of Management and Budget. “I am proud to see these first projects go through the rigorous TMF Board evaluation process and be awarded funding so quickly.”
The Department of Energy received $15 million from the fund to accelerate their email migration to the cloud across the agency.
HUD received the largest sum of money at $20 million to accelerate their mainframe application migration.
“We are honored and grateful to have had our proposal to support our legacy mainframe migration efforts selected by OMB’s TMF Board. The project will take about two years to complete and should save HUD $8 million annually. We expect to recoup our initial cost within five years and will then be able to realign these savings to other modernization efforts,” a HUD spokesperson told Federal Times.
USDA, which was one of the first agencies in line to submit a proposal as a component of its Centers of Excellence program, received $10 million for work on its Farmers.gov customer experience portal.
“Farmers.gov will provide a user-friendly portal for connecting agricultural producers to the USDA services and programs they need. This new resource also will reduce the time farmers need to take away from their fields today to fill out paperwork. We are very pleased that Farmers.gov is receiving funding to continue its development so USDA can improve the way we deliver services to our customer,” USDA Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation Bill Northey said in a news release on the award.
“Today’s funding awards are important to the Administration’s commitment to modernizing the federal government,” said Suzette Kent, federal chief information officer and chairwoman of the TMF Board. “These proposals show the need to update our federal infrastructure and create new operating models that align with aggressive technology transformation. The Board believes these projects deliver citizen benefits, meet the specific technology transformation goals defined in the MGT Act, have agency leadership support, and contains effective cost savings strategy that are at the heart of the TMF model.”
Notably, each agency’s award amount surpassed the $2 million to $10 million sweet spot TMF officials encouraged agencies to aim for in their proposals.
Jessie Bur covered the federal workforce and the changes most likely to impact government employees for Federal Times.