Federal CIO calls on Congress to fund Technology Modernization Fund

Clare Martorana pushes lawmakers to fund the TMF and previews a CAIO council mission to shorten tech deployment time.
Clare Martorana delivers remarks at the 2023 FedScoop 50 awards reception. (FedScoop)

The White House is urging Congress to fund the Technology Modernization Fund following the release last month of an appropriations package that would rescind $100 million from the General Services Administration-run funding vehicle.

“Congress, if you can hear me, please fund the TMF,” federal CIO Clare Martorana said Tuesday during an event co-hosted by Venable LLP and Trend Micro. “It does something really remarkable in our community. You have a board of experts across government that are convened together to really interrogate these proposals.”

Martorana, who also serves as board chair for the TMF, said there’s been a concerted effort to explore ways for agencies to expedite tech projects. The council of chief AI officers has reviewed a plan to accelerate tech deployment within agencies by two years, Martorana said, though there’s nothing concrete to report yet. 

When it comes to work on the technology within agencies, Martorana said establishing governance, managing risk and continuing to innovate are “the three layers of that AI cake…. The risks are significant and we don’t know them all yet. We haven’t identified this whole ecosystem yet.”


Martorana said in an interview with FedScoop after the Tuesday event that she believes that as the Office of Management and Budget and GSA disclose when tech projects across the federal government are in operation, Congress will recognize that the TMF “is a wonderful funding vehicle.” She pointed to the fund assisting with national cybersecurity efforts and improving digital experience online for customers.

“All of the things that we’re using technology to help improve service delivery for the public — safely, seamlessly [and] securely,” she said.

As agencies continue to work toward implementing new tools, Martorana said in a Thursday interview with FedScoop, that CAIO council representatives are focused on establishing an AI-capable infrastructure that has the computing power and resilience to run AI. 

“Some are gonna only be working with generative AI for a really long time and that’s not going  to take a lot of compute power,” Martorana said. “We have a span across our federal agencies.” Larger agencies “taking leaps and bounds” can have a spillover effect on smaller agencies, she added, “giving our federal workforce the opportunity to participate in this technology transformation.”

Caroline Nihill

Written by Caroline Nihill

Caroline Nihill is a reporter for FedScoop in Washington, D.C., covering federal IT. Her reporting has included the tracking of artificial intelligence governance from the White House and Congress, as well as modernization efforts across the federal government. Caroline was previously an editorial fellow for Scoop News Group, writing for FedScoop, StateScoop, CyberScoop, EdScoop and DefenseScoop. She earned her bachelor’s in media and journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill after transferring from the University of Mississippi.

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