NARA, USDA score $13.5M in TMF awards

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The National Archives and Records Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture are the latest recipients of money under the Technology Modernization Fund.

NARA received $9.1 million to modernize and digitize its legacy records processing systems; USDA got $4.4 million to develop and implement a zero-trust cybersecurity architecture for its IT enterprise.

Specifically, the funds will move NARA toward “cloud-based platforms, allowing staff to fulfill electronic records requests remotely, digitally and in a secure fashion,” per a release Monday. It’s the first time NARA has taken money from the TMF.

“We are grateful to the TMF for vitally needed assistance to help with IT upgrades to transform our ability to meet mission requirements and deliver needed records to the American people,” acting Archivist of the United States Debra Steidel Wall said in a statement. “Our very mission is to drive openness, cultivate public participation, and strengthen our nation’s democracy through public access to high-value government records.” 

USDA, on the other hand, is a frequent beneficiary of the TMF, this being its third round of funding from the program. The agency has completed one TMF project for infrastructure optimization and cloud adoption, and is working on another to accelerate the modernization of its Agricultural Marketing Service.

This latest investment “will improve the USDA’s threat monitoring, detection and response capabilities,” USDA CIO Gary Washington said in a statement. That work will be done with a focus on “better securing shared services and sensitive data, and protecting websites that connect citizens to vital resources,” per the release announcing the awards.

“Each year, millions of Americans rely on the security and accessibility of records from NARA and USDA, including military families, government employees, and everyday Americans,” said Robin Carnahan, head of the General Services Administration, the agency that houses the TMF. “These investments will help modernize both record-delivery systems and network security. This is another example of the TMF’s approach to making smart technology investments that provide better service to the public and save money for taxpayers.”

Meanwhile, the TMF itself needs more money as demand for the fund has skyrocketed during the pandemic. The Biden administration requested another $300 million for the fund in fiscal 2023. And lawmakers are urging appropriators to provide at least that.

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Department of Agriculture (USDA), General Services Administration (GSA), National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Technology Modernization Fund