Raylene Yung, Executive Director of the Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) administered by the General Services Administration (GSA), said today that the TMF Board has coming before it funding proposals that are nearing the final stages of development and that could total a “few hundred million” of funding support from TMF.
Speaking today at a virtual event organized by NextGov, Yung also said that new TMF funding announcements could be coming later this month.
“Every month since March of this year, we’ve announced new investments each month,” Yung said. She added, “we’ll likely announce” additional funding awards later in June.
“We’re kind of on this new, I’d say almost rolling kind of continuous basis” of funding award announcements, she said. “We try to move them through the pipeline and be able to share them more frequently.”
The TMF, which exists to support Federal agency IT modernization efforts, received a $1 billion cash infusion from Congress last year, and the Biden administration is asking for another $300 million of funding in its FY2023 budget request.
Asked about the fund’s progress in working its way through the $1 billion in fusion from 2021, Yung reckoned that the TMF Board has already allocated nearly $400 million of that amount in awards to agencies.
Beyond those awards already announced, Yung said “we have a few hundred million in what I would call active proposals … they are proposals that are kind of near the final stages and are just putting on their finishing touches” that are “going to be brought before the board in the coming months.”
“So that alone you can see already takes up the majority of the billion,” she said. “Then I would say given the demand we’ve already seen, I highly anticipate we will receive more than enough new proposals that will easily allocate the remainder” of the billion-dollar infusion, Yung said.
Speaking about the fund more broadly, Yung said that last year’s $1 billion cash infusion “has really been transformative.”
Since the big infusion, she said the fund has received more than 130 proposals from 60 agencies and components that total over $2.5 billion. “We have more proposals … arriving every week and every month,” she added.
“It’s really represented the ability for the TMF, I think, to rise to the challenge of government IT needs today,” she said.
Dave Hinchman, Acting Director, Information Technology and Cybersecurity at the Government Accountability Office (GAO), agreed with that assessment. “The billion-dollar appropriation was transformative,” he said at the Nextgov event.
GAO has long tracked the TMF and its activities, and Hinchman said that as a result, “we’ve been able to see this trend of what kind of projects were funded, and the number of people that applied for it, and what agencies were saying about the process, and the billion dollars really changed the game for what TMF is able to do.”
In particular, he said that some of the security-related projects being funded by TMF will have an enduring impact. “These big-ticket cybersecurity things … really will have long-lasting and more transformative effects on agencies … and how they defend themselves,” he said.
Hinchman explained that TMF funding, along with Federal agencies’ IT-focused working capital funds created under the Modernizing Government Technology Act in 2017, are two vital sources of money for agencies to pursue multi-year projects for which the annual appropriations process may not yield enough funding.
With annual appropriations, “you’re fighting with competing demands across the agency,” he said. “Having a vehicle like the TMF, or working capital funds or something like that, allows people to be much more responsive to the projects that they’re trying to fund” including cybersecurity projects or trying to replace outdated IT systems, he said.