Several IT trade groups called on House and Senate leadership to boost funding for Federal tech in the next COVID-19 coronavirus relief legislation and speed modernization of government functions “in this new era of remote collaboration.”
The six organizations – the Alliance for Digital Innovation, the Center for Procurement Advocacy, CompTIA, the Cybersecurity Coalition, the IT Industry Council, and the Internet Association – explain in an April 15 letter that COVID-19 has re-upped the importance of IT funding at the Federal level.
“The COVID-19 pandemic also exposes the need to redouble efforts to digitize Federal forms and reduce reliance on hand-processing paperwork for high priority response and relief efforts,” the letter states. The organizations go on to explain that the quick switch to telework is creating new IT challenges for Feds, and additional funds are necessary for smooth continuity of operations.
Congress should, the letter argues, direct Federal agencies to support secure telework and fund tech transformation, IT infrastructure, remote work, secure cloud adoption, remote Federal operations, and digital services.
Not only did the groups ask congressional leadership for more Federal IT modernization funds over the span of the next several years, but they’re also requesting assistance for state and local government tech to “enhance the speed and effect of relief efforts.” They recommend support through direct aid to states and integration with Federal agency systems providing relief to members of the public.
The group is also urging members for a boost to the Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) – much like Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., recently requested – and are asking that IT modernization efforts focus on cybersecurity, workforce training, and process transformation. The organizations suggest providing IT working capital funds at the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, Treasury, and the Agency for International Development.
“Congress has already made it clear that improving our digital infrastructure is a critical priority for America, and we urge you to ensure funding of the appropriate size and scope to address these obvious needs is included in any subsequent relief package,” the groups said.