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*** Senate appropriators declined to add to the Technology Modernization Fund in their latest coronavirus supplemental legislation released July 28. Some House Democrats had sought a $1 billion addition to the fund, increasing its capitalization by about six times. In May the House passed a $3 trillion pandemic relief bill that included $1 billion for the TMF.

There's still IT money in the Senate bill, including $1.1 billion in grants to states to modernize the technology of old unemployment insurance systems and $2 billion in funding good through the close of fiscal year 2025 to support IRS business systems modernization.

The bill also funds an earlier legislative mandate included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act that lets the Defense Department pay idled contractors. Pentagon officials welcomed the authority but balked at finding the money. The Senate bill provides $10.85 billion to support claims made by contractors under Section 3610 of the CARES Act.

*** A group of data organizations collaborated on a new report that they say can be a game-changer for federal data analysis. Modernizing U.S. Data Infrastructure: Design Considerations for Implementing a National Secure Data Service, co-authored by Nancy Potok, former U.S. Chief Statistician, proposes a strategy for developing a National Secure Data Service. The report was released by the Data Foundation and co-authored by its president, Nick Hart.

*** A new Defense Department report emphasizes the need for more commercial investment and partnership in space technologies. Representatives from the Air Force, Space Force, and Defense Innovation Unit co-authored and released the summary report with key challenges and recommendations for government and industry companies, including embracing public-private partnerships (with joint funding) and through other transaction agreements.

"We need to be closely linked up to these commercial space activities so that we can figure out how those commercial capabilities can meet military and Space Force needs," said report co-author Air Force Col. Eric Felt, report co-author and director of the Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles Directorate, during a July 28 Center for Strategic and International Studies. That connection will help the U.S. "take some of what we own and some of what the commercial activity has provided....and merge those together in a hybrid architecture," he said.

Posted on Jul 29, 2020 at 2:40 PM


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