TMF Board braced for priority reviews of ‘pretty robust’ project proposals

Clare Martorana gives a keynote at the 2017 Global Wellness Summit. (Global Wellness Summit photo)

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The Technology Modernization Fund Board expects to receive fewer than 100 “pretty robust” project proposals from agencies by June 2, when it will begin priority reviews, said Federal CIO Clare Martorana.

Cybersecurity proposals are the board‘s focus given the recent string of high-profile hacks compromising some agencies — followed by projects modernizing critical systems, providing public-facing digital services and encouraging cross-governmental collaboration with scalable services.

Project proposals submitted after June 2 will continue to be reviewed on a rolling basis, but the board is conducting priority reviews due to the “urgency” with which Congress appropriated $1 billion to the TMF fund in March, Martorana said.

“We are going to be working very collaboratively with agencies to see where their projects fit in these different priority areas and hope to be able to roll out some really high-impact projects that are helping us with our cybersecurity maturity across our entire federal enterprise,” she said during an AFFIRM event Wednesday. “As well as getting to the work that many agencies have been undergoing for multiple years, which is modernizing those high-priority systems and trying to roll out these high-impact, public-facing digital services.”

Agencies shouldn’t “self-edit” themselves out of the TMF process over repayment concerns because the Office of Management and Budget will work with the General Services Administration to develop partial and minimal repayment plans for agencies on a project-by-project basis, Martorana added.

The Office of the Federal CIO is also looking to increase implementation of the 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act (IDEA) which is a “great blueprint” for turning paper-based processes into digital services across government, she said.

“I know that there hadn’t been an enormous amount of guidance provided,” Martorana said. “So that is something we’re working internally on at OMB, to make sure that we can cascade the right guidance out to the federal community.”

The Federal CIO Council last week launched efforts to convene a working group around creating a governmentwide IT modernization plan.

On top of all of this, some agencies have struggled to mitigate cyber threats, use data strategically and acquire IT services during the pandemic, Martorana said.

“One of the challenges that I think we are going to continue to focus on is procurement and how procurement impacts our ability to deploy our dollars effectively, meeting the needs of our customers,” she said. “Also the scale of delivering these digital services across this enterprise.”

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21st Century IDEA, AFFIRM, Clare Martorana, Cybersecurity, Federal CIO Council, General Services Administration (GSA), IT Modernization, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Technology Modernization Fund, Technology Modernization Fund Board
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