The General Services Administration headquarters building in Washington, D.C. 

Apr 02 2021

How Will the GSA Use the Federal Citizen Services Fund for IT Modernization?

The General Services Administration plans to use the funding to accelerate digital government initiatives.

Tucked away in the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act Congress passed last month were several spending measures designed to bolster federal IT modernization and cybersecurity.

The Technology Modernization Fund got its biggest allocation ever, at $1 billion. The U.S. Digital Service received $200 million in funding. And the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency within the Department of Homeland Security got $650 million for cybersecurity risk mitigation measures.

Less noticed, perhaps, was $150 million allocated to the General Services Administration under the Federal Citizen Services Fund (FCSF), which the agency said initially would allow it to “enhance the government’s ability to operate digitally.”

In a statement at the time President Biden signed the bill into law, the agency said that near-term efforts would focus on cybersecurity, while longer-term ones would “enable mission delivery, transform the federal technology workforce, improve the citizen experience, and bring small business innovation into government.”

But what does that mean in practice? The GSA envisions using the fund to promote digital government programs and bolster citizens’ ability to interact with the federal government through technology.

GSA Envisions an Enlivened Digital Government

How will the GSA actually use the $150 million? In mid-March, Dave Zvenyach, director of the GSA’s Technology Transformation Services, laid out how the agency intends to use the funds.

“Funding multiple projects within TTS, the FCSF [Federal Citizen Services Fund], drives innovation in government through interagency projects that enhance and promote the public’s digital experience with government,” Zvenyach said, MeriTalk reports.

“This includes using technology to improve service delivery, transparency, security, and the efficiency of Federal operations, while also increasing public participation,” he said.

TTS will focus on short- and long-term initiatives that “that respond to the pandemic and economic recovery, strengthen the government’s cybersecurity posture, and deliver government digital services to the public, effectively,” Zvenyach said, according to MeriTalk.

Overall, the efforts will focus on making it easier for the government to deliver services to citizens digitally and for citizens to interact with agencies online. “Near-term initiatives will be investments in addressing the pandemic and improving service delivery and security, while longer-term initiatives will improve security, enable mission delivery, and really transform the Federal technology workforce and improve the government’s experience for the public,” Zvenyach said.

“Importantly, it’ll bring industry innovation into government,” Zvenyach said. “All of these efforts really need to be part of a whole-of-government approach and be developed with the intention of future cost reduction, secure, sustainable services, and improvements in mission delivery.”

TTS will be focused on enhancing trust in digital government services and also providing a clear value to partners and the public, he added.

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Photo courtesy of the General Services Administration