The long-awaited second installment of Technology Modernization Fund grants from the US Rescue Act’s billion-dollar plan has been awarded to two small agencies focused on modernizing systems for the public.
TMF’s board of directors “lent” a total of $9 million to the Postal Regulatory Commission and the Selective Service System.
“This funding will enable the RPC to modernize its internal and public-facing tools and provide its customers with a better digital experience. And it will allow SSS to rapidly scale technical operations to meet the nation’s needs through a cloud-first software and data architecture that protects the data of millions of customers,” said Clare Martorana, Federal Director of information and president of the board of directors. , in a report.
The Selective Service System received more than $5.9 million, including an initial transfer of more than $1.8 million, to modernize its Records, Compliance, and Verification (RCV) software.
The SSS will migrate RCV to a cloud-based software and data architecture, improve its cybersecurity protection and performance capabilities, and improve the user experience of the public-facing application, according to the description on the TMF website.
The CRP received a loan of over $2.6 million, including an initial transfer of over $2 million.
The PRC will use the money to modernize its website, dossier and data analysis tools. The commission hopes that modern systems will make it easier for the public to access and participate in its deliberations and give its staff the resources to provide transparent and effective oversight of the operations of the U.S. Postal Service.
The money will accelerate the RPC’s ability to move applications to the cloud and develop three platforms: a new public-facing website, a modern registry system, and a data management system.
“The operational benefits of this project include faster and more thorough data analysis, a more navigable and user-friendly website, and reduced operating and maintenance costs,” the TMF website said.
More proposals than money available
These are the first two awards under the TMF since September, when the OMB and the board distributed $311 million to four agencies primarily focused on cybersecurity projects.
The board received $1 billion in March 2021 from the US Rescue Act plan and Congress and agencies were growing impatient for the rewards. Part of the reason for both the delay and the impatience is that the council received 113 project proposals totaling more than $2.3 billion, the Government Accountability Office announced in december.
Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), chairman of the oversight and reform operations subcommittee, applauded the board’s awards.
“The pandemic has demonstrated that if the technological infrastructure to deliver federal assistance is unreliable or unavailable, then no amount of policy or expertise, political will or subject matter expertise will help our constituents in need,” said Connolly in a statement. “These IT investments will modernize existing systems and help us train the workforce we need to lead government into the future of digital government.”
Since Congress created the TMF in the Government Technology Modernization Act in 2017, the council has received $1.18 billion from Congress and has granted or loaned $409 million through 19 projects. That leaves about $766 million still available for the council to distribute in the coming months.
The Biden administration has asked for an additional $500 million in its fiscal year 2022 budget request. Congress has been less generous so far, with the House offering $50 million in its version of the spending bill. omnibus, while the Senate Appropriations Committee canceled all funding for 2022.
The Biden administration is expected to release its fiscal year 2023 budget request in the coming weeks, which will no doubt include another significant request for the TMF.
“Hundreds of millions of Americans interact with the United States Postal Service and Selective Service, and these investments in the Postal Regulatory Commission and the United States Selective Service system will make those interactions easier, more responsive and more secure,” Robin Carnahan, administrator of the General Services Administration, said in a statement.