Modernization News

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.

Click “Read the Article” below to watch the video interview!

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Technology Modernization Fund on track to receive biggest pay day ever

Federal News Network (March 8, 2021)

You could see the momentum to finally push real funding to the Technology Modernization Fund building all last week.

Three nominees for key positions at the Office of Management and Budget specifically mentioned the need to put serious money behind federal agency cybersecurity and IT modernization efforts. Senate lawmakers did more than casually mention it or offer to submit questions for the record.

A draft of the Senate’s version of the American Rescue Plan — labeled a manager’s amendment — leaked out finally offering some specifics: $1 billion for the TMF, $650 million for cybersecurity and another $350 million for other related IT modernization efforts.

But it wasn’t until the Senate Budget Committee released its initial version of the bill did reality set in. Real, impactful funding for the TMF was closer than ever to crossing the finish line.

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On Friday, Feb 26, Federal Computer Week (FCW) announced their 2021 Federal 100 ‎Award recipient list, celebrating government and industry leaders who have played a ‎pivotal role in how the federal government acquires, develops and manages IT. ‎

The Alliance for Digital Innovation (ADI) is proud to share that of the hundreds of ‎nominations submitted, four members and the ADI’s Executive Director, are among the ‎‎2021 winners.‎

AWS (Sandy Carter)
Splunk (Frank Dimina)
Zscaler (Andrew Schnabel)
Salesforce (Robert Stein)
ADI (Matthew Cornelius)

Profiles of all the winners will be published in FCW magazine and on, and ‎recipients will be honored during the at the Federal 100 Awards Gala on March 19, 2021.‎

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How to Make Federal Telework Work Beyond the Pandemic

Government Executive (February 25, 2021)

By Matthew Cornelius, ADI Executive Director

We’re approaching an anniversary nobody wants to celebrate—a year of COVID-related lockdowns and forced remote work for millions of employees. While bumpy in the early weeks, the majority of organizations have survived—some have thrived—during total telework.

Studies show productivity is up and communication has improved. Many employees have grown accustomed to working from home and aren’t likely to go back into the office full-time even after vaccines are widely administered. These findings are especially true for the civilian federal employees and contractors that make up the vast majority of the government workforce.

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Biden can’t rebuild America with outdated technology

The Hill – Op Ed (February 11, 2021)

By Matthew Cornelius, ADI Executive Director

Over the next several weeks, congressional Democrats will work through the budget reconciliation process to pass as much of President Biden’s American Rescue Plan as rules and procedure will allow. With a price tag of nearly $1.9 trillion over the next decade, this recovery legislation will address dozens of critical issues: vaccine distribution, economic impact payments, support for the unemployed, state and local funding, and safely reopening schools, just to name a few.

However, if recent reporting is correct, one critical area of investment that Congress will reject — yet again — is funding for the government’s information technology (IT) infrastructure and cybersecurity upgrades. It has been, unfortunately, a common occurrence over the past several years for legislators and policymakers to treat IT modernization as an ancillary, rather than integral, part of a functioning, competent government. So, it seems, Congress is subjecting itself to the same myopia in this current round of negotiations.

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SafeLogic: Reflection on a Year of ADI Membership

SafeLogic Blog (February 9, 2021)

By Walter Paley, SafeLogic Vice President of Communications

SafeLogic is quickly approaching our first anniversary as a member of the Alliance for Digital Innovation, which is very exciting. Our leadership team first met Executive Director Matthew Cornelius at the RSA Conference in 2020, and while the world entered the COVID era shortly afterwards and began shutting down, our engagement with ADI began to ramp up.

Matthew and the ADI team are focused on the idea that the Federal government would benefit significantly from accelerated adoption of innovative commercial technology. This really resonated with us and our priorities and holistic goals are very well aligned with ADI. As a member, we are working hard with the Alliance to promote policy that supports the deployment of the latest and greatest solutions, while still maintaining a high bar for the design and function of those solutions. It’s a balancing act between innovation and assurance, and we’re right at the heart of it helping those innovative technologies achieve FIPS 140 validation quickly, easily, and simply, so that they can move forward and be deployed at the tip of the spear where they belong.

At the end of last year, in anticipation of the election, ADI began putting together what was ultimately published in December as the ‘Priorities for the Incoming Administration and Congress’, a roadmap for the coalition’s recommendations. It’s a stellar collection of thought leadership written in easily digestible modules, organized by pillar, and targeted for what is happening right now at the intersection of technology innovation and the Public Sector.

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