Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Gary Peters, D-Mich., said at Meritalk’s TMF Forward virtual event on Dec. 16 that he remains committed to pursuing further Federal IT modernization to improve citizen service capabilities, including through TMF funding.

“During the COVID 19 pandemic, we’ve all seen how critical it is for our government to be able to provide aid when Federal employees are working remotely and when folks cannot access services in person,” the senator said.

“That’s why as chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, I’m working to ensure that we are modernizing Federal systems so that they’re more secure and can improve government effectiveness while saving taxpayer dollars,” he said.

“As part of the American Rescue Plan, I was proud to secure $1 billion for the Technology Modernization Fund,” Sen. Peters said. “This historic investment is already being put to use to update our aging Federal IT infrastructure, improve and secure systems that are critical to our pandemic response and enhance identity verification, and capabilities to prevent fraud and protect Americans sensitive information.”

The senator also talked about his pending legislative efforts to update and codify the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) to modernize Federal agency cybersecurity standards through legislation that would update the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA).

“I’m also leading efforts to update and make permanent FedRAMP,” he said. “Cloud-based technologies have already shown that they can improve how the government is able to deliver digital services to the American people, and my bipartisan reforms will make sure that agencies can procure these systems quickly while ensuring that they are safe from cyber attacks.”

“While these efforts to ensure government agencies are equipped to better serve the American people are critical,” the senator emphasized that “we must also prevent more attacks” like the SolarWinds and Microsoft Exchange hacks that came to light earlier this year.

“That’s why I’m leading efforts to significantly reform the Federal Information Security Modernization Act, which has not been updated since 2014, to ensure that Federal civilian agencies are sharing information about any cyber attack with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) so they can lead efforts to protect Federal IT systems from additional threats,” he said.

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John Curran
John Curran
John Curran is MeriTalk's Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.