tech budget (Sergey Nivens/Shutterstock.com)

TMF relaxes payback rules for security, IT modernization, pandemic response

Agency IT projects addressing urgent cybersecurity, pandemic response and IT modernization needs now have relaxed payback requirements for money drawn from  the $1 billion addition to the Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) included in the American Rescue Plan Act.

The updated model will foster cross-agency collaboration and allow the TMF Board to focus on four proposal categories: modernizing high-priority systems, cybersecurity, public-facing digital services and cross-government services and infrastructure, according to a joint May 4 statement from the Office of Management and Budget and General Services Administration.

Under the updated model, agencies will no longer be required to provide a full repayment for certain projects, with partial repayment provisions provided for those with a "strong positive impact" that will "yield some financial savings," according to a statement from Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), the chairman of the Government Operations subcommittee of the House Oversight Committee.

Among the critical issues the agencies hope to address with the $1 billion funding injection are the federal response to the SolarWinds hack as well as the public's needs throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Federal CIO Clare Martorana.

One of the key intents of the model update was to "accelerate modernization by getting more projects funded and more agencies around the right priority topics that help make the biggest difference in IT modernization," said David Wennergren, CEO of the ‎American Council for Technology and Industry Advisory Council.

"The modernization fund has been around for a while, it's had a little bit of money and has done a few good projects," he said, "but if you're going to effectively move the needle, you're going to have to spend more money on more projects which deliver meaningful results."

TMF currently provides funding to 12 projects across seven agencies. The board is accepting project proposals for priority consideration by June 2.

A longer version of this article was first posted to FCW, a sibling site to GCN.

About the Author

Chris Riotta is a staff writer at FCW covering government procurement and technology policy. Chris joined FCW after covering U.S. politics for three years at The Independent. He earned his master's degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where he served as 2021 class president.

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