Modernization News

ADI Executive Director Matthew Cornelius Interviewed on New Technology Modernization Fund Repayment Rules

Government Matters (May 9, 2021)

New guidance from the Office of Management and Budget gives agencies opportunities to pay back the loans over time or, in some cases, not at all. Matthew Cornelius, Executive Director of the Alliance for Digital Innovation, said the minimal repayment option is beneficial because some very important, timely projects, such as cybersecurity improvements, might not generate cost savings. Cornelius said he applauds the Office of Management and Budget and the General Services Administration for the “simple and yet sophisticated” rule changes.

New Technology Modernization Fund repayment rules expand opportunities for cross-agency efforts


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ADI Executive Director Matthew Cornelius Quoted in Protocol Braintrust on Effect of Biden’s Infrastructure Bill on Tech’s Private Sector

Protocol Braintrust (April 29, 2021)

President Biden’s American Jobs plan has numerous explicit opportunities for the tech industry — such as ‎broadband expansion, massive investments in R&D and securing supply chains. However, some of the most ‎interesting, and potentially powerful, investments are more implicit. At the most fundamental level, Biden’s ‎plan does not distinguish between — but rather interconnects — America’s physical and digital infrastructure in ‎nearly all elements of his vision. Like an iceberg, this means much of the opportunity for the tech industry is ‎hidden under the surface.‎



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ADI Member Organization Salesforce Testifies to Senate on IT Modernization: Cloud Adoption Is A Must

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

On Tuesday, April 27, 2021 ADI member organization Salesforce participated in a hearing for the U.S. Senate’s Emerging Threats and Spending Oversight Subcommittee of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Casey Coleman, Senior Vice President for Global Public Sector at Salesforce, was invited to testify to share her insights as the former CIO of the General Services Administration (GSA). The key takeaway from Coleman’s testimony was that modern, cloud-based platforms can support federal IT modernization.



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Cloud Software Marketplaces Are Linchpin to Driving Innovative Technology Solutions Into DoD

C4ISRNET (April 24, 2021)

By Matthew T. Cornelius, Executive Director, Alliance for Digital Innovation

The American military is entering an era of great power competition, where agility and quick adaptation matters more than ever. For too long, emerging capabilities failed to bridge the valley of death and get integrated into Department of Defense programs of record. In recent years, the DoD has launched groups aiming to change the tech insertion reality, such as the Defense Innovation Unit, Joint Artificial Intelligence Center and Army Futures Command, which accelerate adoption of innovative technologies across the department.

Even so, disruptive innovation in the commercial sector still struggles to enter the federal market, including at the Pentagon. The recent trend toward the defense industrial base consolidating down to a handful of large system integrators tuned toward winning contracts that require custom-developed solutions must cease. Their hold on DoD means innovative software startups and small businesses find the federal government market increasingly complicated, lacking transparency and fraught with misaligned incentives, which further supports the incumbents.



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ADI Joins Multi-Association Letter of Tech And Business Groups Urging Investment In IT Modernization Of Face Recognition Vendor Tests

Internet Association Press Releases (April 14, 2021)

Washington, DC – Today, Internet Association (IA), Alliance for Digital Innovation (ADI), Security Industry Association (SIA), and the U.S. Chamber Technology Engagement Center (C_TEC) are calling on U.S. congressional leaders to support the modernization of the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) information technology (IT) infrastructure. More specifically, the coalition hopes Congress will require improvement of NIST’s testing capabilities to include cloud-based face recognition products and services among those that can be tested. With this support, Congress will provide NIST’s Face Recognition Vendor Test (FRVT) the ability to develop proper standards and guidelines for any implementation of the technology.

“Face recognition is one of the most cutting-edge technologies on the market today, and its upward trajectory is currently outpacing NIST’s ability to form essential national technology standards,” says IA Director of Cloud Policy Omid Ghaffari-Tabrizi. “Congress must support activities that will ensure that NIST is able to build a test environment capable of matching the marketplace.”

Representing a broad portion of the American economy, the coalition is asking for Congressional leaders to address the inability of NIST’s FRVT team to perform tests on cloud-based products. Under current conditions, all vendors must convert their products to a version that fits within NIST’s testing capabilities. As a result, NIST is unable to test some products as they are actually being used, leaving the FRVT team and policymakers with an incomplete picture of the current state of facial recognition technology and the performance of widely used software. This impediment has the potential to prevent NIST from properly verifying that all active systems on the market are mitigating bias.

By requiring the modernization of NIST’s information technology infrastructure, IA is confident that NIST will be able to continue developing standards that will promote the responsible use of all modern technology, face recognition included.

Read the letter here.

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Lawmakers Ask Biden Administration for Technology Modernization Fund Spending Plan

FedScoop (April 13, 2021)

Lawmakers want to know what IT improvements the Biden administration is planning with the $1 billion recently injected into the Technology Modernization Fund, according to a letter sent by five Democratic members of the House Oversight Government Operations Subcommittee on Tuesday.

The letter asks the Office of Management and Budget, General Services Administration, and TMF Board to submit a spending plan to Congress for the funds appropriated in the American Rescue Plan Act, as well as for partial repayment by agencies.

TMF spending is perhaps the fastest way to invest in critical IT and cybersecurity projects across government. But agencies are expected to pay the money back within five years so the fund remains self-sustaining, which is an “unduly burdensome” ask on “inherently riskier projects,” according to industry.



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The DOTGOV Act: Local Cybersecurity a National Imperative

GovTech (April 5, 2021)

By Doug Robinson, NASCIO, and Matthew T. Cornelius, Alliance for Digital Innovation

The past year of the pandemic has pushed government leaders at the federal, state and local levels to accelerate their digital transformation efforts and bolster cybersecurity protections of their networks, information systems and websites. The American people, now more than ever, are relying on government websites for critical digital services and authoritative information – from COVID-19 vaccines to finding polling locations for elections. With rampant misinformation, disinformation and spoofing campaigns often conducted by sophisticated nation-state actors, government websites, especially at the city and county level, remain incredibly vulnerable. They need to be trusted.

One of the most glaring cybersecurity risks facing local governments is the woeful pace of adoption for .gov top-level domains (TLDs), which are the trusted source for government information and services. A lack of prioritization and attention from successive Congresses and administrations have left the .gov program under-resourced and unknown to many local government entities, which might explain why barely 10 percent of local governments have a .gov. Thankfully, a recent tweak in a large appropriations bill may have finally provided this critical infrastructure the authorities, visibility and resources to effectively meet this important cybersecurity challenge.



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ADI Leads Multi-Association Letter Regarding the Administration of the Technology Modernization Fund ‎ Provided in the American Rescue Plan Act

The inclusion of $1 billion in funding for the Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) in the recent American Rescue Plan (ARP) was an historic and groundbreaking moment. Allocation of these funds signals that long overdue investments in modern commercial capabilities across the Federal government to support COVID-19 recovery efforts can now be explored in earnest. In addition to immediate needs around COVID-19 the TMF allocation also opens avenues to embark on IT transformation and modernization efforts across legacy government systems.

Alliance for Digital Innovation (ADI) has led a multi-association effort, along with The Alliance for Commercial Technology in Government, Better Identity Coalition, Center for Procurement Advocacy (CPA), CompTIA, Cybersecurity Coalition, Digital Services Coalition, Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), Internet Association, and Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA)  to ensure maximum effectiveness of this once-in-a-lifetime investment.

With a common mission of improved national security and modernization – a mission that is aligned to Congress’ objectives for the TMF – this coalition of associations penned a joint letter to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the General Services Administration (GSA), and the ‎TMF Board, laying out four key recommendations:

  1. Project Selection: An expansive approach to project selection and consideration of proposals from large and small agencies would encourage agencies to seek out TMF support to address critical immediate needs. This would allow agencies to more quickly enter the TMF pipeline, gain access to necessary resources, and more rapidly develop solutions to emerging situations.
  2. Repayment: Using authority granted by the Modernizing Government Technology Act (MGT Act) the OMB Director can simplify and update the TMF repayment scheme. This will increase the likelihood that TMF can invest in critical, multi-agency solutions and enact long-range projects that require stable funding and may take years to demonstrate impact.
  3. TMF Project Management Office: The influx of funding and corresponding uptick in projects will demand additional support from the GSA Program Management Office (PMO) that supports the TMF Board. Providing OMB technical, security, program management, and acquisition specialists will aid not only in the vetting of proposals but also in the successful implementation of them.
  4. Transparency and Industry Engagement: Discussing use cases with industry will enable OMB, GSA, and the TMF board to work collaboratively to deal with the constantly evolving threat landscape. Engaging with industry will open opportunities to benefit from the rich diversity of technology platforms and solution paths available to achieve the TMF mission.

Improvement of the execution of the TMF will help drive urgent IT modernization and security efforts across government. The coalition of associations is ready to support OMB, GSA, and the TMF board as they secure a 21st  century digital government through TMF-funded projects.

Click here for the full multi-association letter.

For more information, please contact Robin Applebaum

See who’s talking about the TMF letter in the media:



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How to Bring Equity to Government Technology

Excella Modernization Insights (March 16, 2021)

By Burton White, Excella Co-Founder and CEO

At 8:57 a.m., my wife and I launched our browsers and went to the District of Columbia’s website for vaccine registration. I had recently become eligible to receive the vaccine in the District and was eager to join millions of other Americans by getting our shots. Registration for appointments started at 9:00 a.m. and my wife and I were on early—excited and determined to get an appointment. Forty-five minutes later, we were stunned, furious, and appointment–less. What happened in between was an extraordinary failure of government technology.

Repeated ‘page not found’ errors, multiple CAPTCHA errors despite entering it correctly, getting booted off the site halfway through completing the necessary form, being routed to the District’s security page for employees and contractors —we faced error after error. In the end, two educated, abled, resourced people with flexibility to sit in front of two computers for 45–minutes at the exact right time couldn’t get an appointment because of dismal government technology. To be clear, given all the resources at my disposal, I’m certainly no victim in this case. As frustrating as my experience was, the real question remains: how would someone who is not educated, abled, resourced, and flexible with time get this done?



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TMF Operating Model May Need to be Changed, says ADI Executive Director

Government Matters (March 11, 2021)

Updating legacy IT systems at agencies could soon get easier. The latest coronavirus relief bill will give a $1 billion boost to the Technology Modernization Fund.

  • Matthew Cornelius, Executive Director of the Alliance for Digital Innovation, said that in order to address the many IT and cybersecurity issues that have come to the forefront during the pandemic, OMB and GSA should reform the program management office, suspend or update the repayment requirements and start making capital investments very quickly with this money.
  • Some of the major areas to focus on are issues with identity management, issues with collaboration tools and data sharing and improving Centers of Excellence, said Cornelius.
  • Cornelius said instead of waiting for agencies to make project requests, OMB and GSA should look across the government for the best common areas to invest in.
 

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