Federal cyber leaders assess TMF awards

National Cyber Director Chris Inglis said he co-chaired a meeting with top federal cyber leaders this week to analyze current projects with investments from the Technology Modernization Fund.

Chris Inglis takes a question during a Naval Academy cybersecurity event May 2, 2018. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Jon Quinlan)

Chris Inglis takes a question during a Naval Academy cybersecurity event May 2, 2018. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Jon Quinlan)

Top federal cyber leaders convened this week to review a series of awards recently announced through the Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) as part of an initiative to promote cross-agency projects supporting cybersecurity and IT modernization efforts.

National Cyber Director Chris Inglis said he co-chaired the meeting on Wednesday to take “a hard look” at ongoing projects supported by the fund after the TMF Board announced $311 million in new awards in late September, focusing on zero trust cybersecurity projects and cross-government technology programs.

Inglis was joined at the meeting by Anne Neuberger, deputy national security advisor for cyber and emerging technology, as well as Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Director Jen Easterly and Chris DeRusha, federal chief information security officer for the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

The TMF is “at a pretty good place” when it comes to how the money has been used so far following a $1 billion investment in the American Rescue Plan, Inglis said on Thursday at an event hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

“But we’re spending as much time to think about the doctrinal ... enduring, enterprise-wide capabilities that we’ll build into that,” he added, “so we achieve coherence that then helps us manage this more efficiently and with more effectiveness.”

His comments came shortly after it was reported by the Washington Post that Inglis had appointed DeRusha to serve as his deputy for federal cybersecurity. DeRusha will also remain in his current role as the federal CISO, merging his budgetary and cybersecurity responsibilities as the TMF Board and government agencies increasingly focus their investments on cybersecurity plans and modernization efforts.

A former deputy director of the National Security Agency, Inglis was appointed as the inaugural national cyber director by the Senate in June of this year. Last month, he told an audience at the Reagan Institute that one of his primary responsibilities would be ensuring "roles are preassigned and the muscle memory is healthy and well" when it comes to new processes for addressing federal cyber threats and vulnerabilities.

Each of the projects announced by the TMF Board included a focus on modernization and cybersecurity, including Login.gov, the General Service Administration's cross-government identity management solution. The project was awarded a record $187 million to help scale the service, reduce barriers for adoption and attract larger agencies, a GSA spokesperson previously told FCW.