IT Modernization

OMB announces first Technology Modernization Fund awards

Image: Shutterstock/vipman

The Departments of Energy, Housing and Urban Development and Agriculture won the first round of awards through the Technology Modernization Fund, the Office of Management and Budget announced on June 7.

HUD will receive $20 million for its mainframe application migration acceleration proposal; Energy was awarded $15 million for an enterprise cloud email migration acceleration proposal; and USDA was awarded $10 million for its Farmers.gov customer experience portal.

Proposals from the three agencies were approved by the seven-member Technology Modernization Board, which is chaired by Federal CIO Suzette Kent. The centralized fund, created through the Modernizing Government Technology Act, received $100 million in appropriations for fiscal year 2018.

“These proposals show the need to update our federal infrastructure and create new operating models that align with aggressive technology transformation,” Kent said. “The board believes these projects deliver citizen benefits, meet the specific technology transformation goals defined in the MGT Act, have agency leadership support, and contains effective cost savings strategy that are at the heart of the TMF model.”

A HUD spokesperson told FCW the agency is "honored and grateful to have had our proposal to support our legacy mainframe migration efforts selected by OMB’s TMF Board." 

"The project will take about two years to complete and should save HUD $8 million annually," the official said. "We expect to recoup our initial cost within five years and will then be able to realign these savings to other modernization efforts."

Farmers.gov is the only citizen-facing service in the first batch of TMF projects.

"This new resource also will reduce the time farmers need to take away from their fields today to fill out paperwork. We are very pleased that Farmers.gov is receiving funding to continue its development so USDA can improve the way we deliver services to our customers," USDA Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation Bill Northey said in a statement.

In the first round of proposals, just nine projects were submitted for the central pot of money, though other agencies expressed at least some interest in doing so in the future, while others planned to conduct modernization projects through agency-level working capital funds.

This story was updated June 8 with additional comment.

About the Author

Chase Gunter is a staff writer covering civilian agencies, workforce issues, health IT, open data and innovation.

Prior to joining FCW, Gunter reported for the C-Ville Weekly in Charlottesville, Va., and served as a college sports beat writer for the South Boston (Va.) News and Record. He started at FCW as an editorial fellow before joining the team full-time as a reporter.

Gunter is a graduate of the University of Virginia, where his emphases were English, history and media studies.

Click here for previous articles by Gunter, or connect with him on Twitter: @WChaseGunter

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