The General Services Administration’s (GSA) project for further development of its authentication and identity proofing services won by far the largest share of funding from the Technology Modernization Fund’s (TMF) awards totaling $311 million announced late last month.

When the TMF Board first announced the $311 million of funding awards – part of its current effort to distribute a total of $1 billion of funding created by the American Rescue Plan Act – the board described the awards and how they fit into current IT modernization priorities, but did not attach dollar values to them.

In subsequent updates to its website, the TMF Board provided the individual award totals, showing that shared services-related projects with cybersecurity implications were far and away the biggest winners of funding. In soliciting bids from agencies for the funding, the board said it would prioritize proposals for high-impact areas, cybersecurity, citizen service improvements, and projects with enterprise-wide reach.

GSA’s operation snagged $187 million of TMF funding geared toward “widespread adoption of secure authentication for millions of users” that aims to improve the security of government systems.

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At the same time, GSA’s operation also took in $14.5 million of funding to provide a “modernized, secure cloud-based solution for cross-agency collaboration, authentication, and other shared services capabilities.”

On the cybersecurity front, three agencies – Office of Personnel Management (OPM), Education Department, and General Services Administration (GSA) – collectively scooped up $60 million of funding for projects to hasten their transition to zero trust security architectures. GSA was awarded $30 million, Education got $20 million, and OPM received a $9.9 million award.

Outside of that group, the initial round of awards included $50 million to the Department of Homeland Security for its Southwest Border Technology Integration Program, with the goal of using data and technology “to more efficiently, effectively, and humanely” process non-U.S. citizens at the southwest border.

And finally, the initial round featured a classified project for which no details – including the funding award size – have been released.

In a blog post earlier this year, GSA explained that has provided authentication and proofing services since 2017, allowing citizens to use one account to easily access online government services. GSA said that crises like the coronavirus pandemic “make it more urgent than ever for the public to gain fast and easy access to their Federal benefits and services.”

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John Curran
John Curran
John Curran is MeriTalk's Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.