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Meet the 7 leaders who will be steering modernization dollars

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The Office of Management and Budget announced seven members for its new Technology Modernization Fund board, drawing IT expertise from across the federal government to oversee the distribution of $500 million in IT modernization funds over the next two years as part of the Modernizing Government Technology Act.

The board will be chaired by new Federal CIO Suzette Kent. The other members named by OMB Director Mick Mulvaney on March 1 are Alan Thomas, commissioner of the Federal Acquisition Service and the General Services Administration; Mark Kneidinger, director of federal network resilience at the Department of Homeland Security; Matt Cutts, acting administrator for the U.S. Digital Service; Social Security Administration CIO Rajive Mathur; Small Business Administration CIO Maria Roat; and Charles Worthington, CTO for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Federal agencies will compete for funding, and the board will be tasked with evaluating project proposals and flagging high priority IT modernization needs for investment. According to the guidance memo released on Feb. 27, initial proposals are to be just two pages in length and may be submitted immediately. The board's first meeting is March 12.

While Kent is brand new to government, many of the federal officials picked for the board have been highlighted as modernization leaders or have positions located at the nexus of federal technology, modernization and procurement.

Thomas leads the acquisition and procurement arm of the federal government, while Cutts helps lead a critical office in the White House that recruits private sector technology talent to the federal government. Roat has earned a reputation as a leader and driver of IT modernization, data center consolidation and cloud adoption within the SBA, and managed the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program in FedRAMP's early days. Kneidinger specializes in cybersecurity, a critical pillar of IT modernization, and leads outreach efforts for the Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation program within DHS.

One unresolved question is how board members will handle funding proposals that are submitted by their own agencies. The OMB press office did not immediately respond to questions whether board members would be asked to recuse themselves from making funding decisions on such projects.

On Feb. 14, two weeks before she was announced as a board member, Roat told FCW that SBA would be standing up its own working capital fund for IT modernization, but said she was unsure if SBA would end up submitting any proposals for Technology Modernization Fund dollars.

About the Author

Derek B. Johnson is a senior staff writer at FCW, covering governmentwide IT policy, cybersecurity and a range of other federal technology issues.

Prior to joining FCW, Johnson was a freelance technology journalist. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, GoodCall News, Foreign Policy Journal, Washington Technology, Elevation DC, Connection Newspapers and The Maryland Gazette.

Johnson has a Bachelor's degree in journalism from Hofstra University and a Master's degree in public policy from George Mason University. He can be contacted at djohnson@fcw.com, or follow him on Twitter @derekdoestech.

Click here for previous articles by Johnson.


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