The Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) today announced $9 million in funding to modernize IT capabilities and protect Americans’ personal data at the U.S. Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) and the Selective Service System (SSS).

The investments will help the two smaller Federal agencies “modernize key systems, improve cybersecurity, and make services more accessible to the public,” according to a release from the General Services Administration (GSA).

The funding marks the latest set of investments from TMF – and the first new award for 2022 – following the $1 billion infusion into TMF funding under the American Rescue Plan Act in 2021.

“These investments will support transformational change at these two agencies, which is exactly what the TMF is here to do,” said TMF Board Chair and Federal CIO Clare Martorana.

“This funding will allow the PRC to modernize internal and public-facing tools, and give their customers a better digital experience,” she said. “And it will allow SSS to move quickly to scale technical operations to meet the nation’s needs through a cloud-first software and data architecture that protects the data of millions of customers.”

Martorana late last year explained the TMF Board’s focus on projects that will deliver impact for taxpayers, and foster citizen service improvements.

During MeriTalk’s TMF Forward event in December, Martorana said the TMF Board is looking for projects that will “be able to deliver impact for our citizens” in fiscal year 2022. While the initial $311 million of awards following the big cash infusion last year focused on cybersecurity – along with IT modernization and COVID-19 – Martorana said the next set would focus more on citizen impact.

Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., chairman of the House Government Operations Subcommittee and a prime mover on Capitol Hill for last year’s TMF infusion, said today that the new funding awards are “another important step in bringing our Federal IT into the 21st century.”

“The pandemic has demonstrated that if the technology infrastructure for delivering Federal assistance is unreliable or unavailable, then no amount of policy or expertise, political will, or subject matter expertise will help our constituents in need,” Rep. Connolly said. “These IT investments will modernize legacy systems and help us craft the workforce we need to drive government into the digital government future.”

Agency Projects

Specifically, the funding will help PRC – which provides independent oversight of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) – modernize its website, docket, and data analysis tools, providing an easier experience for the public to access and participate in PRC’s proceedings. The docket system is over 20 years old and is at “imminent risk of failure,” according to the TMF Board.

The funding will equip PRC staff with better resources to provide more effective oversight of USPS. The total TMF investment for PRC is $2,645,000.

For the SSS – which is responsible for registering all eligible male U.S. citizens and immigrants for the draft in the event of a national emergency – the TMF investment will help protect the personal information of tens of millions of Selective Service registrants.

With the new funding, SSS will modernize its Registration, Compliance, and Verification (RCV) software and migrate it to a cloud-first software and data architecture, enhance its cybersecurity protection and performance capabilities, and improve the application’s public-facing user experience. The total TMF investment for SSS is $5,988,807.

“The TMF is laser-focused on delivering impact and value for taxpayers, and these strategic investments will have an outsized benefit for the public,” said GSA Administrator Robin Carnahan. “Hundreds of millions of Americans interact with the U.S. Postal Service and Selective Service, and these investments in the U.S. Postal Regulatory Commission and Selective Service System will make those interactions easier, more responsive, and more secure.”

The TMF is a great model for smaller agencies to fund transformative initiatives, as their budgets are often stretched thin, according to GSA. Instead of relying on the annual appropriations system, agencies can receive “predictable and incremental” funding through the TMF.

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“We are grateful for the TMF Board’s investment in the PRC’s proposal to modernize its IT infrastructure and the assistance provided by GSA throughout this process,” said PRC Secretary and Chief Administrative Officer Erica Barker.

“GSA supported the Commission with a program management team that helped us through every stage, from initial proposal creation to evaluation before the TMF Board,” Baker added. “The TMF investment will accelerate the deployment and scaling of key initiatives, helping the Commission meet its mission of ensuring the transparency and accountability of the Postal Service to the American public.”

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is MeriTalk's Assistant Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.