The Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) is currently seeking proposals for investments related to artificial intelligence under the Biden administration’s executive order on implementing AI in federal agencies. The fund aims to provide multiple funding paths to help agencies improve coordination between existing programs, operate across organizational boundaries, and modernize legacy systems to advance the delivery of their mission.
Agencies with a project timeline of no more than 1.5 years and seeking $6 million or less will receive an expedited review process for investment. This will enable them to achieve positive outcomes and impact quickly. To be eligible for funding, all proposals must include a clear plan for user testing, risk mitigation, evaluation metrics, and senior executive support. Agencies have flexibility in how they approach their project and potential solution, and the use of the TMF has the potential to accelerate AI usage in the government.
The General Accountability Office (GAO) recently found that there are currently 228 AI applications in use in federal agencies, with over 500 more in the planning stages and about 500 in the research or exploratory stage. While this represents significant progress, the GAO cautioned that the government should manage its use of AI responsibly to minimize risk, achieve intended outcomes, and avoid unintended consequences.
The House and Senate have also shown interest in this issue, with a bill having cleared the committee level in the latter to require agencies to be more transparent when using automated intelligence and systems. The TMF is a government-wide fund designed to provide up-front funding for IT projects rather than stretching out spending over time. Most allocations go toward projects to replace legacy systems.