The $1.5 billion bill for fiscal year 2022 is a mixed bag for IT modernization

Written by Dave Nyczepir

The fiscal year 2022 spending legislation passed by the House this week includes no money for the Technology Modernization Fund and would reduce or maintain funding for two other federal IT modernization vehicles.

If the $1.5 trillion bill becomes law, the Office of Management and Budget’s IT Oversight and Reform Fund would receive $8 million, down $4.5 million from the previous year. fiscal year 2021, and the Federal Citizen Services Fund (FCSF) would receive the same $55 million as last year.

Congress’ decision not to add money to the TMF comes after a major injection last year. The Biden administration requested $500 million for the TMF this fiscal year. He had received $1 billion under the American Rescue Plan Act, in addition to a regular appropriation of $25 million for fiscal year 2021.

“The federal government must maximize the impact of these funds by developing a strategic plan for the use of funds that will prevent duplication of effort, direct funds to their highest use, and ensure coordination among agencies,” it reads. in the report. joint statement of reasons the invoice’s. “OMB is responsible for providing committees with a detailed strategic plan for the use of funds no later than 60 days after the enactment of this Act.”

The TMF board continues to distribute money in the meantime. It awarded $9 million for two projects in smaller agencies that often lack the budgets and technical staff to support initiatives that address pressing network or cybersecurity issues.

Agencies struggling with their IT modernization efforts would continue to receive funding to turn their respective ships around.

The White House also requested an additional $4.2 million for the FCSF. The fund supports interagency projects to digitize processes and use IT in innovative ways, and the bill allows up to $5 million to be earmarked for supporting functions and hiring of the law on the foundations of evidence-based policy-making.

On the other hand, the administration has requested $10.4 million for the IT Oversight and Reform Fund, a modest reduction of $2.1 million from the current bill, which would allow the director of the ‘OMB to transfer money to agency projects.

The Senate is expected to pass the legislation later this month.

Familiar numbers for VA, IRS

Agencies struggling with their IT modernization efforts would continue to receive funding to turn their respective ships around.

Of the $4.8 billion allocated to the Department of Veterans Affairs for its computer systems, $2.5 billion would go to its Electronic Health Records Modernization (EHRM) initiative, which is $127 million less than the fiscal year 2021. This money would depend on the department secretary providing quarterly reports. in Congress, and 25% of the funding would be withheld until July 1, provided the department presents a plan with benchmarks and metrics for deployment and all infrastructure upgrades 30 days prior.

“As the committees continue to support the EHRM initiative and the secretary
comprehensive strategic review, as with any acquisition of this size and magnitude, it
continue to be implementation issues,” reads the joint statement of reasons the invoice’s. “The level of funding and the urgency requirement recognizes the delays and implementation challenges to date, as well as the need to communicate a clear plan to address infrastructure needs, deploy the new system, track progress and demonstrate success.”

The IRS finds itself in a similar situation with its enterprise systems modernization initiative, which would receive $275 million, up from $222.7 million in fiscal year 2021. This figure includes funding for a customer account data engine 2, an enterprise case management system, web applications, taxpayer support systems, cybersecurity and data protection.

But the IRS should report to Congress and the U.S. Comptroller quarterly on IT investments in its portfolio of integrated modernization business plans, including costs, results, risks and mitigations. This is in addition to an annual audit by the Government Accountability Office.

The IRS should also include in its fiscal year 2023 budget justification a summary of cost and schedule performance information for its major IT systems.

Elsewhere, the bill would increase the budget of the Office of the National Coordinator of Information Technology for Health for the development of interoperable health informatics, and the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resource standard in particular, by $1.8 million. dollars to $64.2 million.

The bill would require the heads of organizations it funds to ensure that their chief information officers are part of their budget planning processes.

On the cyber side, the bill would provide the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency with $2.6 billion, an additional $568.7 million from fiscal year 2021 and $460 million more than the White House was looking for. The legislation would also require agencies that receive a cyber incident report, including those involving ransomware, to share it with CISA within 24 hours.

Of the $125 million the bill makes available to the State Department for its diplomatic programs to respond to Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine, $50 million could be transferred to its fund. capital investment for cybersecurity and $15 million used for diplomatic and consular service emergencies. The money could also be used to identify the assets of Russian oligarchs and freeze them in coordination with the Treasury Department.

-In this story-

Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resource, Federal Citizen Services Fund (FCSF), Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act, Information Technology Oversight and Reform (ITOR), IRS, Office of Electronic Health Record Modernization, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, Russia, State Department, Technology Modernization Fund, Treasury Department, Ukraine

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