$9.1M Technology Modernization Fund Award Backs Updates to National Archives’ Legacy Systems

On April 22, 2022, the Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) awarded the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) $9.1 million to update two legacy platforms used to support mission critical business processes: the Archives and Records Centers Information System (ARCIS) and the Case Management Reporting System (CMRS). NARA submitted its first proposal to the TMF in July 2021. Under terms of the award, NARA will repay the TMF over the next five years.

NARA’s Federal Records Centers Program (FRCP) operates the ARCIS system to manage physical space, holdings management, and inventory control processes at NARA’s 18 Federal Records Centers across the nation. Modernizing ARCIS will improve NARA’s responses to over eight million reference requests received annually from federal agencies, and the more than 8,500 external users from over 200 military and civilian agencies who conduct business with the FRCP each year through the ARCIS web portal.

NARA’s National Personnel Records Center operates the CMRS system to process over 1.5 million requests received each year by veterans, their families, and other members of the public, for Official Military Personnel Folders (OMPF). Modernization will reduce request backlogs and improve response timelines.

The TMF award supports modernization of ARCIS and CMRS through an enterprise management system deployed in a secure Cloud-hosting environment. This enterprise-level system will improve capabilities, facilitate more rapid case processing,  provide more robust disaster recovery, and permit integration into NARA’s G-Suite (Gmail, Google Drive, Google Calendar), data encryption and data loss prevention.

Support for the modernization of legacy systems at NARA represents an important example of how the TMF can advance digital modernization for information management across the executive branch. In particular, Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO) Notice 2021-03, and ISOO’s 2020 Annual Report to the President, recommend that federal Chief Information Officers, Chief Data Officers, and other federal staff engaged in information security operations submit proposals to the TMF that support cross-agency projects for the development of government-wide classification and declassification programs to process electronic information.

TMF Executive Director Raylene Yung recently testified to the Government Operations Subcommittee of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform that the TMF would distribute nearly all of the remaining $756 million appropriated for grant proposals by the end of Fiscal Year (FY) 2022. However, bipartisan support led by Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va), Steve Daines (R-Mt), and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), exists in Congress for additional appropriations of at least $300 million in the FY 2023 budget for the TMF.

In the meantime, ISOO, through its  Annual Reports to the President, continues to emphasize the urgent need for modernizing federal classified systems as the growth of electronic information continues to increase. For updates on project awards granted by the TMF, as well as details on TMF project guidelines, repayment flexibility criteria, the TMF project proposal template, and where to submit proposals, see the TMF website at https://tmf.cio.gov/.

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