The Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) said today it approved $40.6 million of new funding to three Federal agencies for projects that will improve cybersecurity, and also help boost citizen service.

The TMF, which is administered by the General Services Administration (GSA), was created in 2017 under the Modernizing Government Technology Act to provide money to Federal civilian agencies to undertake tech modernization projects. The fund in recent months has been spending down some of the $1 billion cash infusion it received from Congress in 2021.

Topping the list of new awards unveiled today is $23.3 million for the Social Security Administration (SSA), which will use the money to speed up deployment of multifactor authentication, among other security-related aims.

“Millions count on Social Security for their benefits, and we are committed to secure systems that protect their personal information and allow our hard-working employees to provide the daily services and assistance American retirees and other beneficiaries depend on,” commented Sean Brune, chief information officer at SSA. “This investment will improve security and protections of our programmatic systems while avoiding potential agency costs and potential disruption of services,” he said.

The Treasury Department received a new $11.1 million TMF award to improve the reliability and security of its Treasury Foreign Intelligence Network (TFIN), which it uses to share classified data with other government agencies as they seek to spot and analyze overseas threats to the U.S. economy and finances and monitor the impact of U.S.-imposed sanctions. The funding, GSA said, will help to “prevent interruptions and outages while meeting the needs” of about 800 users of the network.

“This project addresses critical challenges for security on our national security system, as outlined in White House National Security Memorandum 8, as well as a need for technological transformation that will bring TFIN in line with current performance and security best practices,” commented James Treadwell III, the Treasury Department’s Assistant Secretary, Support and Technology, Office of Intelligence and Analysis.

Finally, the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM) is receiving a $6.2 million TMF investment that it will use to implement zero trust security architectures. That work, GSA said, will support the agency’s mission and “ultimately protect the lives of its journalists and their sources, safeguard the integrity of USAGM-funded news content frequently targeted by oppressive governments and non-state actors, and improve management of USAGM devices for its decentralized and remote workforce.”

“Because of our success in providing sought-after reporting in media-restricted environments, USAGM and our employees are frequently targets of harassment, hacking, and impersonation,” commented Amanda Bennett, CEO at USAGM. “This investment will dramatically improve USAGM’s IT security posture and reduce the risk of identity fraud and unauthorized access, protecting both lives and the integrity of our agency’s trusted journalism products,” she said.

Commented on the three awards, Federal CIO Clare Martorana, who is also the TMF Board chair, said, “Cybersecurity is the great enabler of IT modernization. When we help agencies launch technology that is secure by design, they’re able to drive transformation across products and services to improve the digital experience and maximize investments.”

“Through the TMF, we are helping agencies build a secure foundation to keep the American public’s information confidential, preserve data integrity, and improve accessibility,” Martorana said.

“With these new cybersecurity investments, TMF funding will increase the security of some of the nation’s most critical systems and sensitive data,” added Raylene Yung, TMF’s executive director.

“The TMF is helping these agencies protect lives and livelihoods, safeguard intelligence and information integrity, and keep the programs the federal workforce relies on to serve the American public up and running,” Yung said.

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