Written by Billy Moran
The infant federal government Tech Modernization Fund is facing challenges just two years into its implementation and receiving continued funding might hinge on lawmakers understanding the fundamental goal of the fund.
The Fund, or TMF, was designed to provide an incentive pool for funding projects aimed at retiring legacy systems in favor of newer, more modern and cost effective IT. Agencies could access funding outside of their normal budgets to aid what is often a multi-year project to phase out massive, dated technology.
Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-VA, is one of the bill’s sponsors that says the challenge with the Tech Modernization Fund is that it’s funding can be difficult to understand.
“Believe it or not, to get a manager to agree to prioritize retiring those legacy systems and investing in a new system requires capital because the capital that looks like it’s there is actually maintaining the legacy systems,” he said. And if you’re pressed for budgetary priorities and staffing and mission and all kinds of other things, retiring a legacy system is a multi-year, multi-billion-dollar thing in your budget, and you’ve got to commit to it…So our goal was to incentivize them by creating this fund. And that was a hard sell for many of my colleagues because it’s counter intuitive. ‘What do you mean? We spend $96 billion a year. You want more? You think they need more to retire legacy systems?’ And so that’s an educational process.”
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