Today, Federal CIO Clare Martorana said the TMF board sent the first seven project awards to Congress for final approval. The American Rescue Plan (ARP), passed in March, included an additional $1 billion for the Technology Modernization Fund (TMF). Last week, Federal Chief Information Security Officer Chris DeRusha said the first round of awards was coming soon


Martorana updated the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee at a hearing on legacy IT, and the leads for the United States Digital Service (USDS) and the General Service Administration’s (GSA) Technology Transformation Services (TTS) – which each also received additional funding in the March bill – also detailed what projects from their agencies that the funding supported.


“The funding provided to USDS, GSA, and through the TMF is an investment in both our information security and the quality of government services,” Martorana told the committee. “We have just sent up to Congress for review the first seven proposals that are going to be awarded through TMF, and about two-thirds of them represent cybersecurity [proposals].”


Martorana said the TMF board received proposals from 48 different agencies and is picking projects that have the best chance of success and that the Federal government can then build playbooks off. She said the goal of this is to create repeatable actions to get every agency to a base level of zero trust to be in compliance with President Biden’s cyber executive order and create an environment at agencies that puts security first.


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“By trying to get us to that base level of zero trust, we are applying that to every IT modernization project that we undertake,” Martorana said. “Things have to be secured by design. Security isn’t an afterthought; security can’t be something you bolt on or is someone else’s responsibility. It is a core part of the way that we do software development that we build projects, and then we will approve plans that come before the TMF board.”


As the projects are still awaiting final approval from Congress, Martorana did not say which projects the program plans on approving. Still, USDS Administrator Mina Hsiang and TTS Director David Zvenyach gave Senators a brief rundown of some of the projects their funding went towards.


Hsiang said the $200 million USDS received in the ARP allowed USDS to fund its work on and the text and assistance hotline to go with it, as well as work with Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service on the Child Tax Credit, help the Department of Labor modernize unemployment insurance systems, the Federal Communications Commission’s Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, and work with other agencies on programs like social safety net benefits and emergency rental assistance.


Zvenyach said GSA’s TTS used $150 million appropriated by the ARP to invest in a U.S. Digital Core, cloud automation through the Federal Risk Assessment and Management Program (FedRAMP), and more projects focused on the cross-agency mission of the TTS.

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Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.