White House Opens Applications for Technology Modernization Fund

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The White House on Tuesday published guidelines for federal agencies looking to bring their IT systems into the 21st century under new legislation.

The White House on Tuesday published guidelines for federal agencies looking to bring their IT systems into the 21st century under new legislation.

The Office of Management and Budget on Tuesday outlined how department heads can use the provisions created by the Modernizing Government Technology Act to upgrade outdated IT infrastructure.

Passed as part of the National Defense Authorization Act, the law authorizes up to $500 million over two years for a central modernization fund through which agencies can borrow against to update aging, unsecure systems. It also establishes working IT capital funds where agencies can stash savings from other modernization projects—like migrating to cloud computing—to use for future projects.

“The MGT Act will allow agencies to invest in modem technology solutions to improve service delivery to the public, secure sensitive systems and data, and save taxpayer dollars,” wrote OMB Director Mick Mulvaney.

Under the guidance, agencies hoping to access the $500 million Technology Modernization Fund are required to submit project proposals to a seven-person board of experts, who will evaluate initiatives based on public impact, feasibility, outcomes and security, and make funding recommendations to the General Services Administration.

Federal Chief Information Officer Suzette Kent—who OMB said started today—will lead the board, which will also include a senior GSA official, a member of the Homeland Security Department’s National Protection and Programs Directorate, and four government IT experts tapped by Mulvaney. The board will officially come into existence on March 12, but agencies can begin submitting proposals as of Tuesday.

Agencies must also notify OMB by March 27 if they plan to establish an IT Working Capital Fund in fiscal 2018, the guidance said. OMB will oversee the fund and require agencies to submit quarterly reports on how resources were spent that quarter, spending plans for the upcoming quarter, and a summary of actual obligations, expenditures and unused balances by fiscal year.