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Published

May 06, 2022

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Dear Chair DeLauro, Chairman Leahy, Ranking Member Granger, and Vice Chairman Shelby:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce requests that your committees provide much-needed support for federal IT transformation by meeting or exceeding the $300 million in the President’s request for FY 2023 Technology Modernization Fund (TMF). We urge you to provide flexibility to help ensure agencies can make progress on IT modernization, balanced with continued oversight from Congress to ensure accountability. Modernizing IT systems will enable great efficiency in services delivered to constituents and bolster security.

Recent appropriations for IT modernization have helped jumpstart a process towards stronger, more capable, and resilient federal government systems through appropriations made by the American Rescue Plan (“ARP).[1] However, there is a great need for adequate resources to digitally transform government. Last spring, the TMF received over 130 proposals from more than 40 agencies, totaling approximately $2.5 billion dollars in high-need projects for the $1 billion appropriated by ARP. These requests only scratch the surface of what is required to address the considerable technology modernization backlog faced throughout the federal government.

Funding is also needed to meet the cybersecurity needs and goals of federal agencies that have been directed to mature their zero trust capabilities.[2] Agencies are encouraged to either reprioritize funds internally or seek funding from alternative sources, such as the TMF. Additional funding should be made available for agencies that are just getting started on their zero trust journeys.

Furthermore, while it has been five years since the Executive Branch released a strategy around IT modernization, there is little harmonization on approaches. We believe a new approach is needed to stress performance improvements and measure progress, prioritize value, transform and simplify user experience with government systems and services, and improve cybersecurity performance. Enhanced partnerships, assessment, workforce training, and adoption of best-in-class technology should support this new approach.  We also believe Congress should play an important role to ensure accountability.

Sustainable, strategic, and long-term investment in federal IT is vital. We stand ready to work with and support efforts to help transform the federal government's technology posture. Thank you for your attention to this critical priority.

Sincerely,

Tom Quaadman

Executive Vice President

Chamber Technology Engagement Center

U.S. Chamber of Commerce

cc:  The Honorable Mike Quigley, The Honorable Chris Van Hollen, The Honorable Steve Womack, The Honorable Cindy Hyde-Smith

cc: Members of the House Committee on Appropriations

cc: Members of the Senate Committee on Appropriations


[1] Agencies are only now realizing the $2 billion for federal technology appropriated by the American Rescue Plan Act (P.L. 117-2), of which $1 billion was allocated to the Technology Modernization Fund (TMF).

[2]See OMB Memorandum M-22-09, following the Executive Order on "Improving the Nation's Cybersecurity" (EO 14028).