Feds Need More Money to Defend Against Hackers, White House Official Says
(Bloomberg) -- A new tranche of funding to defend federal agencies against cyber-attacks will be announced in the coming weeks, but the more than $1 billion allocated by Congress is only a down payment on what’s needed, the U.S. chief information officer says.
The Technology Modernization Fund, launched in 2017, is a pool of money for federal agencies to modernize their information technology systems, both to guard against cyber threats and to offer more services online. The TMF board announced seven grants totaling $311 million at the end of September. It is working on allocating the next awards while signaling to Congress that it still won’t be enough.
“It’s a down payment. There is no question that there is such an enormous demand for us to modernize many of these high-value assets and legacy systems,” Clare Martorana, federal chief information officer at the Office of Management and Budget, told Bloomberg Policy Blueprint on Tuesday. Martorana also serves as chair of the TMF board.
Officials are working with agencies to prepare for the next round of funding, which she said is coming in “weeks” rather than months. “We are working every single week on the portfolio,” she said. “We are working with those agencies to make sure that their submissions are in the best shape possible for us to make an informed decision.”
Many of the initial awards focused on so-called “zero trust networking,” which tightens log-in requirements as a safety measure against potential security threats.
“Most agencies focus immediately on the defense,” she said, but are now pivoting to also building out ways to offer government services more seamlessly online. “We’re asking agencies to make it significantly harder for even the most sophisticated adversaries to compromise an organization.”
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