TMF Board awards first round of funding

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USDA Chief Information Officer Gary Washington discusses the funding his agency received from the Technology Modernization Fund to improve Farmers.gov, and how the proposal was a “family effort”


Late Thursday afternoon, The Technology Modernization Fund Board awarded money to three proposals from across the executive branch.

In a press release, TMF Board Chair and Federal CIO Suzette Kent said “These proposals show the need to update our federal infrastructure and create new operating models that align with aggressive technology transformation. 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.”

The proposals from this first round of funding are varied. The Department of Energy’s plan accelerates the migration of email to the cloud, Housing and Urban Development is upgrading their mainframe applications and the Department of Agriculture received $10 million in funding to improve customer service on its Farmers.gov online portal.

“We are providing value to our customers and our citizens. We are engaging farmers and ranchers in the process in terms of developing something that would be useful to them. It is not a lot of money. However we are reusing technologies and we’re finding the best debrief so we can make this automated,” said USDA Chief Information Officer Gary Washington. “What works for us is we have a strong relationship with our non IT partners in USDA. This was truly a USDA family effort in terms of creating this proposal, everybody is on board from the secretary on down. I can say it’s been very pleasurable going through the process [with the TMF board], and they have educated us on what questions we may have to answer in the future.”