Modernization News

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 Yet federal agencies still rely on many outdated and legacy IT systems and paper-based processes that have hampered the effectiveness of government operations and mission delivery.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.

“More attention from Congress could lead to smoother EIS transition” ADI Executive Director Quoted

FedScoop (December 21, 2020)

The House Oversight and Reform Committee recently added a new category under its biannual FITARA Scorecard: It grades agencies’ progress in transitioning to the $50 billion Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) network modernization contract — and away from predecessor vehicle Networx.

On the surface, it was a small gesture. The data was already being collected by the General Services Administration and made publicly available. And new categories are added to the scorecard pretty regularly. The transition to EIS is just one of now nine components on which the committee will score agencies’ IT acquisition and management “hygiene” via the scorecard, which was originally a measure of federal compliance with statutes in the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act.

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ADI Executive Director Cornelius: The Biden Administration and Congress Can Improve FedRAMP

Nextgov (December 7, 2020)

This year’s National Defense Authorization Act will not establish the General Services Administration’s cloud security certification program in statutes or pressure agencies to accept its centralized determinations. Supporters of a streamlining effort to encourage greater and faster cloud adoption by agencies are looking ahead to next year.

The final NDAA is expected to pass the House Tuesday afternoon and move onto the Senate without language to revamp GSA’s Federal Risk Authorization Management Program.

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CDM Program Wins Industry Praise for Pandemic Help – MeriTalk

MeriTalk (December 4, 2020)

The Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation (CDM) program won praise from tech-sector officials at MeriTalk’s CDM Central virtual conference on Dec. 3. for its mostly unheralded work in helping Federal agencies make quick fixes to security during this year’s coronavirus pandemic. CDM Program Manager Kevin Cox offered insights as part of MeriTalk’s CIO Crossroads program in June into how his office jumped in to help agencies in need.

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