Modernization News

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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Pushed by the Pandemic, Government Agencies Sped-Up Their Digital Transformations. Now There Is No Going Back

Washington Post (February 8, 2021)

By Casey Coleman, Salesforce SVP, Global Government Solutions, ADI Board of Directors Member

Last year, the global pandemic catalyzed a rapid alteration in the way businesses and consumers leverage digital technologies to solve problems, stay safe and remain connected. This shift led many government agencies to accelerate their planned digital transformations, which were long overdue but often took years to implement. Since the public sector has traditionally been more hesitant to adopt new technologies, the relative overnight transition during the past year has been breathtaking.

If the past year has taught us anything about technology, it’s that digital capabilities are no longer just ‘nice to have’ – they are imperative. The realities of operating during the pandemic have forced governments worldwide to reimagine how they work and serve their constituents.

Now that 2020 is in the rearview mirror, it is likely that most Americans hope that the technological innovations spurred by the crisis will remain, helping make our public institutions more responsive and more resilient for years to come.

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ADI joins 11 other associations to support robust funding for the Technology Modernization Fund in COVID-relief legislation

Multi-Association Letter (February 2, 2021)

“We write in support of President Biden’s call for robust funding to modernize and secure federal information technology (IT) and networks in the proposed “American Rescue Plan.” The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly accelerated the need for the Federal Government to modernize its aging IT infrastructure. We urge Congress to provide the $9 billion for the Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) that the President has called for in any emergency supplemental legislation. We further recommend that a substantial portion of the total amount provided be exempt from the TMF’s usual reimbursement requirements to accelerate urgent IT upgrades.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Americans, particularly the most vulnerable populations, have been unable to access most government services in person. Yet federal agencies still rely on many outdated and legacy IT systems and paper-based processes that have hampered the effectiveness of government operations and mission delivery. Updating these systems is not only critical to improving access to services but also to ensuring those who are most in need of government assistance receive the emergency funding Congress has appropriated.”

Click here to read the full letter.

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ADI and partner associations persuade DISA to alter their cloud approach to ensure robust participation by innovative commercial technology leaders

Federal News Network (February 1, 2021)

Once again the federal technology community was left flabbergasted and wondering “why?” from a decision by the Defense Department around cloud computing.

This time it’s the Defense Information Systems Agency, which — until it suddenly changed its mind late on Friday — had made a decision that left us all questioning the initial rationale behind yet another cloud acquisition program.

DISA, which receives mostly high marks from industry for its inclusiveness and openness to innovation, decided to do the exact opposite. It initially wanted to limit responses to a request for information for a cloud program office only to 14 large and 23 small vendors on its Systems Engineering, Technology, and Innovation (SETI) vehicle.

But pressure by three industry associations and other experts convinced DISA to change its mind and let other companies beyond those 37 submit RFI responses.

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What $9 billion would do for the Technology Modernization Fund – Protocol Interview with Matt Cornelius

Protocol (January 20, 2021)

The Biden administration wants to give the Technology Modernization Fund a $9 billion payday. In doing so, they could change what the fund actually does.

Matthew T. Cornelius, now the Alliance for Digital Innovation’s executive director, was instrumental in getting the fund off the ground back in 2018. As a senior adviser for technology and cybersecurity policy at the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, he helped make some of the fund’s first investments in government IT modernization. At the time, though, there was only about $100 million in the fund.

Now, as a part of the sweeping $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan laid out last week, the Biden administration has shared its plan to increase that total almost 90-fold to $9 billion. For Cornelius, that kind of investment could give the TMF the power to effect change across the government’s IT infrastructure instead of solving agency-specific challenges, as it has done to date.

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Biden Proposed $10B+ In Cyber & IT Funds as part of COVID-19 Relief, ADI Comments

President Joe Biden asked Congress to approve a sweeping COVID-19 relief plan that included more than $10 billion in funding for cybersecurity and information technology, describing it as “an urgent national security issue that cannot wait.”

The Alliance for Digital Innovation (ADI) strongly supports the breadth and depth of this proposal. The Biden plan ensures that robust technology and cybersecurity capabilities will be provided to support the execution of these his ambitious and necessary agenda.

“Earmarking $9 billion for Technology Modernization Fund, shows the incoming administration clearly understands its unique value proposition of IT modernization and how important effective technology infrastructure will be for supporting agency efforts, particularly as it relates to accelerated COVID-19 response,” said Matthew Cornelius, Executive Director of Alliance for Digital Innovation.

Additional requests for IT and cybersecurity dollars, for the Office of Management and Budget, the General Services Administration and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency highlight the Biden team’s plans to significantly expand digital services talent in government. It also indicates a robust response to the recent SolarWinds hack, and enable these agencies to provide critical technology and cybersecurity services to the entire federal government.

ADI strongly supports these critical elements of the American Rescue Plan and encourage Congress to work swiftly with President-elect Biden to ensure important IT modernization and cybersecurity funds are included in any relief legislation.

“Immediate IT modernization investments will speed the government’s ability to deliver vital benefits, programs, and services to the American people. Providing necessary, targeted funding for technology and cybersecurity capabilities will support the execution of President-elect Biden’s ambitious and necessary agenda,” said Cornelius.

The Biden plan will dramatically increase the use of commercial technologies in government and provide for a more robust, effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic and economic recovery for American families and businesses.