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Suzette Kent, Board Member at the LSU Foundation, discusses the possibility of improving and expanding the Technology Modernization Fund

President-elect Joe Biden’s new stimulus plan includes more than ten billion dollars for IT and cyber initiatives, including significant expansion of the Technology Modernization Fund. Former Federal Chief Information Officer Suzette Kent joined “Government Matters” to discuss how the TMF would change under the stimulus plan.

“Hearing ten billion dollars is absolutely thrilling,” Kent said. “I’m cautiously optimistic.”

She said officials at the Office of Management and Budget and the General Services Administration have already thought about how to scale the Technology Modernization Fund.

“There is a plan, and I would love to see the team have to execute it and see that type of funding applied to the TMF,” Kent said.

She said in order to scale the fund, the TMF board would need to be expanded and payback mechanisms and oversight would need to be streamlined and automated.

“Operating at this volume, you would need to be able to not only expand the individuals involved, but move through those checkpoints and recording processes much more quickly, both with the board and at the individual agencies,” Kent said.

As far as the composition of the expanded TMF board, Kent said there’s room at the table for many types of views. She said an ideal TMF board would include a broad spectrum of people from multiple agencies and disciplines.

Kent also spoke about how the metrics for choosing Chief Information Officers for agencies have changed.

“I think private sector CIOs that have had a background of success is a phenomenal statement,” she said. “Individuals that came from the private sector to serve bring an immense amount of experience in working with diverse populations, they know how to deliver results quarter after quarter, they’re familiar with many of the technology tools and vendors and I think what we saw was that they integrated quickly and they were able to do impressive things. I hope we see that exact same pattern in the new CIOs who will be joining the Biden administration.”

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