TMF Announces Two New Awards

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The U.S. Postal Regulatory Commission and the Selective Service System are in line for IT modernization funding boosts.

The Technology Modernization Fund announced two awards for the U.S. Postal Regulatory Commission and the Selective Service System on Monday. 

The fund is still flush from a $1 billion investment from the American Rescue Plan legislation which passed in March 2021. That funding surge also ushered in new relaxed repayment guidelines and questions about how the board overseeing it will be able to scale in light of new funding. The fund's board tapped seven awardees last fall. 

So far, TMF has announced over $400 million in funding commitments.

"These investments will support transformational change at these two agencies, which is exactly what the TMF is here to do," said TMF Board Chair and Federal CIO Clare Martorana in a statement about the awards.

The approximately $2.6 million award for the Postal Regulatory Commission, the agency that oversees the U.S. Postal Service, is meant to modernize the PRC's website and key systems, something that will both make the agency more transparent and accessible, said the General Services Administration in its announcement of the two awards. 

The current website and docket system is over 20 years old and "at imminent risk of failure," according to the TMF website's description of the project. The data environment and tools are also antiquated, leaving economists at the agency to do analyses manually.

The goal is to have new, cloud-based applications for the PRC website, docket system and data management system.

The Selective Service System agency is going to use its approximately $5.9 million award to modernize cybersecurity at the agency, which collects information on men ages 18 to 25 to use in the event that a military draft is ordered. The SSS handles over 2 million registrations and about six million verification checks every year, GSA says.

The agency is going to use the money to migrate its registration, compliance and verification software to cloud-first software and data architecture, enhance cybersecurity measures and improve the public-facing user experience. 

"The TMF is laser-focused on delivering impact and value for taxpayers, and these strategic investments will have an outsized benefit for the public," said GSA Administrator Robin Carnahan in a statement about the new awards. 

"Hundreds of millions of Americans interact with the U.S. Postal Service and Selective Service, and these investments in the U.S. Postal Regulatory Commission and Selective Service System will make those interactions easier, more responsive, and more secure," she continued.

Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), a co-sponsor of the legislation that established the fund said that the new awards, "are another important step in bringing our federal IT into the 21st century." Connolly added that the COVID-19 pandemic, "has demonstrated that if the technology infrastructure for delivering 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."

The fund, established in 2017, is meant to offer a flexible funding model apart from the annual appropriations process for agencies. Still, some top federal tech leaders say that the fund lacks sufficient resources to meet the overall need in terms of government-wide digital transformations, and it's clear that some agency tech leaders are still pursuing other funding mechanisms. 

Login.gov, GSA's identity management solution, received the single largest TMF award at $187 million last fall.

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