The Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) Board on September 30 announced seven new awards totaling $311 million to fund Federal agency investments into zero trust networking and digital identity, standardizing secure data and information sharing, and improving interagency collaboration.

The awards announced today mark the first tranche of funding from the $1 billion of new money that TMF received earlier this year under the American Rescue Plan Act.  Nearly $700 million of that new funding remains to be awarded.

The TMF Board in May relaxed its repayment guidelines on the new funding, and called for proposals from Federal agencies for proposals to spend the money, with priority being given to projects involving high-priority system modernization, cybersecurity, public-facing digital systems, and cross-government services and infrastructure.  Those types of projects showed up big in today’s list of awards.

“The $1 billion for the Technology Modernization Fund was provided in the American Rescue Plan for essential emergency relief and is a vital part of the administration’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the significant cybersecurity incidents impacting Federal operations,” said Federal CIO Clare Martorana today.

“The administration is maximizing the flexibility of the TMF to modernize high-priority systems, elevate the foundational security of Federal agencies, accelerate the growth of public-facing digital services, and scale cross-government collaboration and shared services,” she said. “These first ARP awards represent a set of strategic awards to improve technology at scale across all of these areas.”

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The funded projects announced today address multiple high-priority categories. Five of the six awards aim to modernize high-priority systems, five address cybersecurity, two support cross-government collaboration and scalable services, two improve public-facing digital services, and three respond to COVID-19 relief and recovery efforts.

“These projects will have an immediate impact on Federal cybersecurity and help inform future awards as we work to implement modern security principles across the Federal ecosystem,” said Federal CISO Chris DeRusha. “The TMF Board and GSA will be tracking the progress of these projects, capturing lessons learned, and making adjustments along the way to help them be successful.”

New Project List

The new funding awards announced today are:

  • Zero Trust Networking at the Office of Personnel Management, with a goal of improving data and privacy protection for two million Federal employees with data on file at OPM;
  • Zero Trust Architecture at the Department of Education, aimed at improving data security and privacy for 100 million students and borrowers;
  • Advancing Zero Trust at the General Services Administration (GSA), with a goal of improving security of GSA shared services;
  • at GSA, with a goal of promoting “widespread adoption of secure authentication for millions of users,” allowing easy access to the services that the federal government provides, and significantly improving the security of government systems;
  • Transition at GSA, with an aim to “Improve interagency cooperation and communication, which is critical in a remote and hybrid environment, as well as support strong authentication for federal employees interacting with government systems”;
  • Southwest Border Technology Integration Program at the Department of Homeland Security, with the goal of using data and technology “to more efficiently, effectively, and humanely” process non-U.S. citizens at the southwest boarder; and
  • A classified project for which no information was released.

The TMF Board emphasized that the new funding awards will be distributed in increments, with  funding tied to performance and delivery milestones based on quarterly project reviews by the board.

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.