GSA to Use Tech Modernization Funds to Bolster Security, Modernize

The General Services Administration announced plans to upgrade security and infrastructure for its eRulemaking Program,, which encourages the public to review and comment on proposed regulatory and nonregulatory actions across the federal government.

GSA’s plans, revealed earlier this year as part of its wider Technology Modernization Fund investments, will address near-term security vulnerabilities as well as any urgent issues that could risk the system’s stability. GSA also says it plans to transition to modernized architecture, which will likely be a multiyear effort.

The coming upgrades for the eRulemaking Program mark the latest in a series of investments directed through the TMF since its creation as part of the Modernizing Government Technology Act of 2017. In addition to annual appropriations, the TMF received $1 billion as part of the American Rescue Plan of 2021, a $1.9 trillion stimulus package to help local governments and businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Congress is working on reforms meant to ensure the TMF’s solvency through 2030.

“The mission of the TMF is simple: invest in technology to make government services simpler, more seamless and secure,” said Larry Bafundo, executive director of the TMF, in a statement. “Good technology is critical to serving the American public, and all of these investments are indicative of how the TMF can help agencies modernize nimbly and effectively.”

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Investing in Automation and Artificial Intelligence

The TMF’s funds are primarily targeted toward urgent cybersecurity defense needs as well as technology modernization to reduce fraud and improve service delivery. The fund’s board is also encouraging government agencies to invest in future technologies, including automation and artificial intelligence.

As part of its most recent funding efforts, GSA also announced plans to spend $19.7 million to improve communications tools for the antitrust division of the Department of Justice, implementing chat apps and other technologies that have become standard in corporate settings over the past decade.

“This effort will free up time from employees currently spent mitigating IT deficiencies to instead focus on the enforcement work they were hired to do,” said Walt Cain, the division’s executive officer, in a statement.

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Addressing Veteran Electronic Health Record Issues

GSA also says it’s targeting more than $6 million for the Armed Forces Retirement Home to modernize electronic health records systems for its more than 1,100 residences in Washington, D.C., and Mississippi. The upgrades will represent improvements over the current decade-old system, which has a high rate of data entry inconsistencies and errors and is not interoperable with the Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs or private sector provider networks, GSA says.

“This transformative project represents a significant milestone in our ongoing commitment to provide the highest quality healthcare to our residents,” said John RisCassi, the retirement home’s COO, in a statement. “By modernizing our EHR system, we’re not just upgrading technology, we’re enhancing the lives of some of our Nation’s bravest heroes.”


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