The Technology Modernization Fund Board threw more support behind expanding the use of the Login.gov service as part of the latest set of awards to three agencies totaling another $35 million.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Federal Housing Administration became the fourth project to obtain a “loan” from the board to implement the identity service from the General Services Administration.
FHA is slated to receive $14.8 million to modernize its identity credential access management (ICAM) systems for the FHA Connection (FHAC).
The board says FHAC “will seamlessly integrate with Login.gov and improve customer experience by creating self-service registration capabilities for users, organizations, and application administrators. This mission-critical program supports 15 high-value systems including the single family and multi-family housing programs, public and Indian housing and the chief financial officer.”
HUD expects to save at least $7 million and improve FHA’s cyber posture by retiring legacy systems like the Web Access Security System (WASS), FHAC and SiteMinder.
“Tens of thousands of external users engage with HUD’s current FHAC components,” said Beth Niblock, HUD CIO, in a statement. “Yet, our current systems are over-extended, redundant, and poorly integrated. The modernization of FHAC will give FHA-approved lenders and business partners secure access to the services they need.”
This was HUD’s second award under TMF, winning $13.85 million in 2018 for a mainframe modernization project, and already paying back over $2 million.
21 awards since $1B windfall
Along with HUD, the board awarded the Office of Personnel Management $6 million to improve its website and content management systems. It also gave the Army $15.5 million to modernize and improve the cybersecurity of its operational technology at manufacturing arsenals, maintenance depots and ammunition plants, referred to as organic industrial bases (OIB), which manufactures equipment, vehicles and ammunition.
Since Congress approved $1 billion in the American Rescue Plan Act in March 2021, the board has made 21 awards, including four that specifically call out zero trust, worth more than $435 million. Since the TMF started in 2018, the board has made 32 loans worth more than $530 million.
“If we are going to deliver digital transformation for the American people in our lifetimes, we must think and work differently across the federal enterprise. Through TMF investments, we are demonstrating what’s possible right now in modern government service delivery,” said TMF Board chairwoman and Federal CIO Clare Martorana in a statement. “The investments in OPM, HUD and the Army will address immediate security needs and enhance customer experience and business operations by modernizing outdated systems – expectations we must be able to meet for our customers.”
For this latest award, OPM will use the $6 million “loan” to update both the technology behind and the content on OPM.gov, which receives about 22 million visitors a year.
“Currently, customers experience difficulty navigating the site, using the tools effectively, and finding the information they need. The almost 20,000 pages on OPM.gov contain 3,600 dead links, creating a confusing user experience for current Federal employees, job seekers, and HR professionals who visit OPM.gov expecting up-to-date and easily accessible information,” the TMF website stated. “OPM will implement a modern and more secure Content Management System (CMS) hosted in OPM’s enterprise cloud environment so that users can have intuitive and accessible web tools. The project will also develop processes for publishing updated information and create an intranet environment that houses historical information. OPM will use a Digital Governance Board to ensure that technology, design, and process changes are customer-centric.”
OPM Director Kiran Ahuja said in a statement that “This investment will improve the government’s ability to recruit job seekers, supply the federal workforce with relevant career-related information, and make it easier for public servants to manage their benefits.”
Army to improve cyber posture
The Army is using its new funding to address basic infrastructure problems that spans 26 OIBs and supports 28,000 employees.
“An estimated 500,000 devices in the OIB constitute a significant attack surface area. Any network compromise would disrupt production and could potentially destroy equipment, injure workers, and impact coordination with multiple partner agencies. Any insecurities in the systems that support these OIBs could pose grave national security risks,” the TMF Board website states. “The Army Critical Infrastructure Cyber Protection Project will enable attack sensing and warning (AS&W) and vulnerability assessment (VA) cyber capabilities and establish a security operations-as-a-service (SOCaaS) framework that ensures cyber defenders can monitor, respond to, and remediate cyber threats.”
Army CIO Raj Iyer said this money will address an urgent need and ensure the Army isn’t waiting for funding through the traditional budget process.
“For the Army and its partners, this project will modernize and improve our cybersecurity posture and enhance the command and control of critical OIB,” he said in a statement.
The board still has more than $500 million to award from the $1 billion in the March 2021 American Rescue Plan Act. The General Services Administration, which manages the fund, asked for $300 million more in fiscal 2023, but Congress has been less than excited to put additional money into the TMF. The House approved $100 million for the TMF this year, while the Senate zeroed new funding for the TMF.