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Protecting Personal Data and Modernising Systems in the U.S.

The Technology Modernisation Fund (TMF) announced investments in two small federal agencies, the US Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) and the Selective Service System, to upgrade vital systems, alter operations, and safeguard Americans’ personal data (SSS). The US$ 9 million contributions are the next step in the American Rescue Plan’s US$ 1 billion investment in the TMF to address major technology modernisation concerns and strengthen cybersecurity across the federal government.

The TMF is laser-focused on providing impact and value to taxpayers, and these strategic investments will benefit the public in a big way. Hundreds of millions of Americans contact with the USPS and Selective Service System, and these improvements in the USPS Regulatory Commission and Selective Service System will make those interactions easier, more responsive, and more secure.

These investments will help these two organisations undergo transformational change, which is exactly what the TMF is intended to help with. The PRC will be able to upgrade internal and public-facing tools, as well as provide a better digital experience for their clients, thanks to this investment. Through a cloud-first software and data architecture that safeguards the data of millions of users, it will also enable SSS to quickly increase technical operations to meet the nation’s needs.

Through defined milestones and continuing oversight, the TMF provides a flexible funding approach for agencies to produce outcomes swiftly and progressively. Agencies identify essential needs and submit initial ideas to the TMF’s cross-functional team of technical and program evaluators, who then review them. Before being considered by the TMF Board, these evaluators recognise interesting proposals and collaborate with agencies to improve project plans.

These two investments, which were made possible by tight collaboration between the TMF and project teams, will upgrade important systems, increase cybersecurity, and make public services more accessible:

  • IT Modernisation, U.S. Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) The PRC is a small organisation with a huge mission: independent monitoring of the USPS, a global business that delivered over 128 billion pieces of mail in FY 2021 and operates over 34,000 post offices. The PRC is responsible for overseeing postal prices and gathering public input on USPS actions such as post office openings and closings. This TMF investment will upgrade the PRC’s website and essential systems, making it easier for the public to view and participate in the Commission’s proceedings, as well as providing PRC personnel with resources to better oversee USPS operations.
  • Registration and Verification Modernisation, Selective Service System (SSS) The SSS is a small institution tasked with enrolling all male U.S. citizens and immigrants aged 18 to 25 living in the United States in advance of any national defence mobilisation. Over two million Selective Service registrations and approximately six million enrollment verification checks are managed by the SSS’s 115-member team each year. These checks ensure that students receive financial aid, are eligible for nearly four million federal civilian and local government employment, and receive free job training. This TMF initiative will strengthen cybersecurity and safeguard the personal data of tens of millions of Selective Service registrants.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, agencies at every level of government have worked to bring their services and benefits and procedures in line with modern digital systems as citizens and employees alike expect automated and convenient processes like those available at online businesses. To help the government seamlessly provide the services people need and keep workers productive, IT professionals must envision and implement the right technology.

Over the last two years, agencies have learned which services can be moved online and which processes must still be done in person. A growing list of government services can be handled via the internet, including paying fines, getting permits or applying for a marriage, birth or death certificate. However, agencies like the motor vehicles department require in-person experience for some transactions. Additionally, there will be a percentage of the population will need to access services in-person due to things like a lack of internet access or personal preference.

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