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Technology Modernization Fund: Rewriting our IT Legacy

Technology Modernization Fund: Rewriting our IT Legacy 

Statement of Raylene Yung 

Executive Director, Technology Modernization Fund,  

U.S. General Services Administration 

Before the  

Subcommittee on Government Operations  

Committee on Oversight and Reform 

United States House of Representatives 

May 25, 2022 

Lessons on Service Delivery and Supporting the American Public: An Update from  the Technology Modernization Fund 


Chairman Connolly, Ranking Member Hice, and members of the Subcommittee: Thank you for  the opportunity to testify on the Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) and the role it can play  in transforming the way we deliver secure, user-centric, and cost effective technology and  services to the American people. 

My name is Raylene Yung, and I serve as Executive Director of the TMF Program Management  Office at the General Services Administration (GSA). It is a privilege to speak to you about  what’s possible when it comes to federal technology modernization. I’d also like to thank the  Committee for your support and vision in helping bring the TMF into existence. Before joining  GSA, I founded a nonprofit that worked with hundreds of state and local government partners to  improve how they use technology to deliver services. I entered public service because I believe  in technology’s ability to change people’s lives, and nowhere is that more true than in  government. Getting technology right is critical to securing our nation, improving the quality of  everyday interactions with government, delivering public services and benefits, and building trust with the American people. The TMF is here to serve as a catalyst, and demonstrate a more  effective way to deliver a simple, seamless, and secure customer experience when interacting  with our government. I’d like to acknowledge members of the TMF Board, the Office of  Management and Budget and its Office of the Federal Chief Information Officer (OFCIO), and the Chief Information Officer (CIO) community across our government for being our partners in  this exciting initiative. 

The Promise of Modernization 

Technology is an integral part of delivering services throughout government today, from helping  connect Veterans to their health benefits, to ensuring public school lunches are safe and  available, to protecting our nation’s data through strong cybersecurity protections.  

Prior to public service, I spent over a decade building software services and products that have  scaled to serve millions of users and billions of transactions daily. I firmly believe that all the  core technology the Federal government needs to deliver on its promises to the public already  exists. What we need now is to bring the right combination of technology, talent, and funding  together at the right time. 

I hope to leave you with three takeaways from my testimony today:  

● Effective Federal technology is critical to implementing policy and serving the American  public, so it is more important than ever to invest in modernization more nimbly and  effectively. 

● The TMF is a powerful tool to drive digital transformation by emphasizing an agile,  iterative approach to systems development, and pressure testing technology solutions to  ensure they are capable of modernizing systems and delivering results. 

● The TMF is uniquely positioned to demonstrate what agencies can deliver right now to  securely meet customer needs, and will require dedicated funding to support this work to  drive the level of impact the American people deserve. 

How the TMF Drives Effective Federal Technology Modernization 

Modernizing federal technology at scale is an incredibly difficult problem to tackle. Teams are  often under-resourced and stretched thin managing outdated legacy systems, leaving little  capacity to take on modernization efforts. Without the correct technology development  framework and adequate technical support and expertise, agencies may end up embarking on  multi-year projects that duplicate efforts by others across the government. In some instances, we  have seen projects whose requirements may no longer match user needs by the time the projects  are completed.  

The TMF was specifically designed to address many of the institutional challenges that have  caused many previous modernization efforts to underperform. Today I will share with you some  of the successes we’ve seen since the TMF was established in 2017. With the support of Congress, we have been able to address many of these challenges and accelerate the replacement  of aging Federal information technology (IT) systems. Together, we have been wisely investing  taxpayer dollars to achieve the desired results. 

That being said, TMF investments go far beyond funding; and we partner with agencies and take  an integrated and hands-on approach to technology modernization following these principles: 

● We act as both a financial and strategic partner: The Technology Modernization Fund  Board, chaired by the Federal CIO and comprised of government IT leaders with proven  expertise in technology, cybersecurity, acquisitions, and operations, set the investment  strategy. My team, the Program Management Office (PMO), assess proposals and work  alongside the TMF Board, members of OMB’s OFCIO and Resource Management  Offices, and agency project teams to not only check in regularly but provide additional  guidance to ensure success. Every active investment is reviewed quarterly by the TMF  Board to provide oversight, review progress, and course-correct when necessary. 

● We are responsive to user needs: We emphasize the user’s experience and voice in every  project, and help agencies validate that user input is gathered and incorporated  throughout project execution and iteration. We aim to help agencies create a continuous  and tight feedback loop between funding, project progress, and user needs. 

● We take an agile, incremental investment approach: Investments are tied to the delivery  of specific milestones, enabling teams to follow a more iterative, agile process that  enables them to update their initial assumptions and course-correct as needed. This not  only ensures results are delivered early and throughout execution, but also improves the  overall likelihood of success.  

● We ensure that agencies have a stake in project success: Agencies are required to repay  the fund, and they are asked to commit to supporting long-term maintenance and  operating costs for their projects out of their own operating budget, giving them an  additional incentive to see the project succeed. 

● We have a broad view of technology needs across government: Working with the Federal  CIO provides a birds’ eye view into the work and aspirations of many agencies tackling  similar modernization initiatives at the same time, and enables us to align investments to  the Administration’s IT priorities. We pay attention to the similarities between the  proposals we receive, and connect agencies to exchange learnings, share resources, and  achieve economies of scale, allowing us to align investments government-wide to address  cybersecurity needs and improve customers’ experiences.  

Impact of Early TMF Investments 

Although many of our investments are still actively underway, we’ve seen that our approach  works and enables agencies to get meaningful results. Here are just a few examples of recent  TMF investments that are already delivering significant returns:

● Improving processing of temporary work visas with U.S. Department of Labor  (DOL): In 2019, TMF investment helped DOL digitize and expedite the processing of  temporary work visa certifications. These certifications help ensure the integrity of the  temporary work visa programs by requiring information on both U.S.-based and foreign worker availability, recruitment, and other components to help protect both from adverse  impacts. In recent years, the use of temporary worker visas has grown tremendously. Processing improvements eliminated an artificial barrier to the number of certifications  that could be issued daily, allowing the Department to issue 176 percent more H-2A  certifications and 109 percent more H-2B certifications in a single day. DOL also created  the Foreign Labor Application Gateway (FLAG) which allows agricultural businesses and other employers to complete and quickly access the status of their application 24/7.  FLAG also allows DOL to share data with the Department of State, Citizen and  Immigration Services, and others, helping avoid nearly $2 million in unnecessary  administrative expenses annually. 

● Safer, better, cheaper management of shipping revenue with U.S. Customs and  Border Protection (CBP): With support from the TMF beginning in 2020, CBP  modernized their payment processing system, Automated Commercial Environment  (ACE) Collections, by moving it off of their 30+ year old mainframe system and to the  cloud – improving overall security while creating a more secure, reliable, and intuitive  user experience for CBP, Partner Government Agencies, and the Trade community. As  the government’s second-largest revenue-collecting agency, CBP processed over $90  billion in duties, taxes and fees in Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 by using ACE Collections.  Support from the TMF helps DHS improve customs enforcement, revenue collections,  trade protections, and user experience through improved features and business  capabilities, while reducing operations and maintenance costs associated with the existing  system. 

● Efficiently inspecting produce with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to  feed more Americans: USDA CIO Gary Washington is here with me today, and his  team has been a great partner. The Department’s Specialty Crops Inspection Division  (SCID), inspects billions of pounds of fruits, vegetables, and other products annually to  ensure they meet safety and quality standards. It also issues certifications that ensure the  produce is of a high enough quality to be used in national feeding programs such as the  Free and Reduced Lunch Program and Meals Ready-to-Eat (MREs) for the U.S. military.  Previously, SCID inspectors would conduct onsite facility and crop assessments on paper  and manually enter data at SCID facilities, which was frustrating and time-consuming.  With support from the TMF, USDA began modernizing a new platform in 2020 that  allows inspectors to tour facilities with tablets in hand, and input data directly, without  having to rely on paper or travel to an office. This new inspection process has helped  support an expanding network of production facilities, which increased from 28 in FY 2018 to 44 in FY 2021, ensuring faster inspections in more locations. USDA was also  able to inspect 4 billion more pounds of produce in just three fiscal years, as well as  inspect over 241 million servings of combat rations.  

The Importance of Technology Modernization in the American Rescue Plan 

The number and scale of the TMF’s investments grew dramatically after receiving $1 billion in  funding under the American Rescue Plan (ARP). ARP funding enabled us to improve the  technical review process for project proposals and assemble the necessary expertise from across  the Federal enterprise specializing in cybersecurity, user design, and research. This rapid scaling  has dramatically accelerated our ability to provide agency support for IT modernization.  

After the ARP’s enactment, the TMF received over 130 proposals from more than 60 agencies  (and components) totaling over $2.5 billion. From ARP funds, the TMF has made 12 new  investments totaling nearly $400M in under a year, compared to the 11 investments totaling $76  million in the 3.5 years prior to the ARP.  

These investments represent the Administration’s strong commitment to improving the public’s  interactions with government and to bolstering the security of those interactions. They directly  respond to the need to improve the nation’s cybersecurity, as outlined in Executive Order 14028.  TMF investments are helping to protect the data of 100 million students and borrowers, 2 million  civilian federal employees, millions of Veterans, tens of millions of Selective Service registrants,  millions of users of government-wide shared services, and the security of hundreds of facilities.  

● Our investment will transform authentication for the federal government and  provide for easy multi-factor authentication across the board. It will also fund the  development of an identity proofing solution that ensures equitable access to government  services, prevents fraud, and protects individual privacy. 

● Our Veteran Identity Modernization investment will allow our nation’s Veterans to  easily and securely access their benefits. It will boost security without compromising  usability as Veterans access the VA’s services, enabling a pathway for all users seeking  those services, whether online or in person. 

● Our investments also support small agencies by bolstering cybersecurity and protecting  the personal information of tens of millions of Selective Service registrants at the  Selective Service System and equipping the US Postal Regulatory Committee with the  resources and technology needed to more effectively provide oversight of USPS  operations. 

● We are also piloting a cohort-based investment model to address critical cybersecurity  needs. Three of our recent investments (at GSA, the Department of Education, and the Office of Personnel Management) are Zero Trust projects. As early adopters in the  Federal government’s move to this new approach, these agencies are meeting regularly to  actively collaborate and learn from what’s working. We intend to circulate these lessons  to other agencies seeking to implement Zero Trust capabilities to accelerate their projects  and save taxpayer dollars. 

● One of our newest investments will help the National Archives and Record  Administration (NARA) bring their paper-based records request process online. Despite  NARA’s best efforts, lack of automation recently created a backlog of over half a million veteran requests for their military service records, which is an issue well known to this  Committee. Among other benefits, this investment will help Veterans and their families  electronically request and receive their records and increase the number of records that  federal agencies can order electronically, reducing both processing times and the risk of  future backlogs. 

We’re greatly looking forward to sharing the impact of these and additional investments with you in the future. 

What’s Next for the TMF 

The work of the TMF is just beginning. After receiving unprecedented demand, we aim to  allocate all of the funds provided for the ARP this year, and we are continuing to improve our  approach and push forward on delivering better technology for the American people. We are  collaborating closely with stakeholders across government, including the Federal CIO, Federal  Chief Information Security Officer, and agency technical leadership, to maximize our impact and  ensure that our next investments are strongly aligned with Administration and government-wide  technology modernization priorities. 

In the coming weeks and months, we will be especially focused on furthering the work outlined  in:  

● Executive Order 14028, Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity, including Zero Trust  initiatives, 

● Executive Order 14058, Transforming Federal Customer Experience and Service  Delivery to Rebuild Trust in Government, and  

● The President’s Management Agenda, Priority 2, Delivering Excellent, Equitable, and  Secure Federal Services and Customer Experience. 

We work closely with the broader cybersecurity community to invest in projects and pilots that  help agencies across the federal enterprise adopt a Zero Trust framework. The TMF is also well-

positioned to make a large impact on federal customer experience by leveraging technology to  improve life experiences that span agencies, as well as drive innovation across the High Impact  Service Providers – those Federal programs that impact the most customers, have the highest  volume of annual transactions, or have an outsized impact on the lives of the people that we serve.  


The TMF is an important long-term investment in the federal government’s ability to deliver  simple, seamless, and secure services to the public and show that technology modernization  projects can be successful at scale. The money appropriated to it so far has already begun to  

demonstrate tremendous impact. The President’s FY 2023 budget request for $300 million builds  on this success. We ask for the Committee’s support for this investment, to continue delivering the level of services that taxpayers expect and deserve in the 21st century. 

Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss the TMF’s role in  modernizing technology and identifying opportunities to drive secure digital transformation  across government. It’s been a wonderful experience to work on this innovative investment  program so far, and I’m very excited for what’s to come. I appreciate the opportunity to testify  and look forward to your questions.