What is this role?
The Technology Modernization Fund (TMF has a mandate to advance cybersecurity throughout the Federal Government. In the past year we’ve invested nearly $100 million in agencies implementing zero trust architecture and related cybersecurity improvements. Each potential investment requires review, analysis, and work with the project team to clarify their goals and plans. Once made, investments benefit from the TMF’s guidance and troubleshooting. We’re looking for an experienced cybersecurity expert who has played an active role in advancing zero trust architecture strategies to help us evaluate and guide similar projects to successful completion. You should have a strong technical background with experience executing or managing complicated cybersecurity projects, and knowledge about the current state of enterprise cybersecurity. If selected, you can expect to do the following in this role:
- Provide technical advice and expertise as part of the TMF Program Management Office (PMO) and to the TMF Board
- Help set strategic direction for the Fund’s cybersecurity investments
- Develop criteria for assessing requests for investment and participate in the assessments
- Advise and participate in a Cybersecurity Working Group
- Act as the primary interface with the (Chief Information Security Officer) CISO at the Office of the Federal Chief Information Officer (CIO) and with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)
- Provide technical and strategic advice to ongoing investments
- Help agencies and the federal government more broadly learn from agencies’ experiences implementing cybersecurity modernization
What are Technical Investment Managers?
Our Technical Investment Management team is staffed by folks from a wide variety of backgrounds – people who have led product and engineering teams across private sector, civic tech, and government projects; alumni of digital services teams including the U.S. Digital Service, 18F, and Technology Transformation Services; and former IT executives and specialists from different government agencies.
We have a lot in common though, including our deep understanding of what makes technology projects succeed and the experience to quickly and accurately evaluate proposed solutions to wildly different problems with government systems. And beneath it all, we’re united in the desire to make a huge difference in peoples’ lives by helping Federal agencies make their services more accessible, efficient, and effective.
How we work
Working together or individually, each of us contributes to three main areas of responsibility for the team. These include:
Project Proposal Management: The lifecycle of pre-investment project proposals is a multi-phase incremental process that starts with pre-submission discussions with agencies and ends with a Board vote on the final project proposal. In between there’s a lot of paperwork to shuffle and quite a bit of iteration, reading, tweaking, clarifying, questioning, briefing, summarizing, and finding different ways to use phrases like “multi-phase incremental process.”
This entire lifecycle typically takes at least three months of routine attention and support, with bursts of activity as we review and advise on updated drafts or advance the proposal through the official approval process. This requires Technical Investment Managers to apply a unique combination of patience and urgency, as the proposal work is done entirely by the agency team while we stand by, providing assistance or pressure when needed.
Active Investment Management: We’re an investment fund, so we don’t just give folks money and walk away. We have both a statutory and a doing-the-right-thing responsibility to actively monitor investments – to see how they’re doing, understand the decisions they’re making, help them respond to unexpected problems or delays, and keep the wheels of bureaucracy turning. The projects we invest in all track towards agreed upon milestones that must be delivered to continue investment funding. Keeping in touch to avoid surprises is the bare minimum, so we all strive to create and maintain strong relationships with project teams that help us nudge project teams early and often to stay on track.
Each Technical Investment Manager has primary responsibility for as many as ten active investments. Each project is a large, complicated, multi-million dollar project with its own unique agency and team culture using different methods and solutions to solve very different problems. Just keeping up with these projects gets complicated really fast, so we need to be able to remember significant details about nuanced issues like the laws and policies that limit or empower each agency to more mundane issues like remembering every acronym and initialism. (“SASSSR OT/ICS/SCADA-EMS M-22-09 ZTNA Modernization” means what now?!)
Making Things Better: We’re just as excited about improving processes as we are following them. Every week we’re working to make things smoother for ourselves and our partner agencies so we can be more effective, more collaborative, and move together faster. We’re discussing the latest policy changes, debating the implementation details of OMB memoranda, sharing information about emerging trends and services, and constantly improving our awareness and understanding of everything it takes to modernize technology at the scale of the Federal government.
Sometimes it’s big things, like the incredible effort that went into building a coalition to launch the Customer Experience Allocation. Other times it’s smaller things, like making a document template a bit easier to read, suggesting better phrasing on a document, or supporting the investment analysis for a teammate that’s a bit busier than usual. All the time, we’re making things better.
You’ll fit in great if:
You are equally excited about sticky technical issues and intricate human ones. We’re constantly diving into the underlying narratives of government systems and services to understand the impact of changes on the people those systems serve. Something as seemingly simple as changing the way people log into a website becomes a complex undertaking when you begin factoring in the diverse circumstances of everyone who might use it and how various technical solutions might address them.
You can empathize and collaborate with anyone while guiding everyone. We work with high-level executives for massive government agencies with billion dollar budgets, then switch contexts to tiny independent agencies with four people working on keeping their network secure. We collaborate with political appointees, special advisors, career staff, digital service experts, and others in various positions at many different levels of government with different experiences and expectations.
You’re happy reading about, talking about, thinking about and advising projects instead of leading them. We have a unique opportunity to become familiar with and support incredible projects to modernize systems and services across the entire spectrum of government but we’re not a hands-on delivery organization. We aren’t personally involved with the underlying work done on the projects we invest in – we’re not making choices on look and feel, we’re not choosing the technology stack, we’re not vetting the staff, and we probably won’t even meet most of the folks working on the project.
You don’t think bureaucracy is a four letter word. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 (Public Law 115-91), Subtitle G–Modernizing Government Technology (MGT) Act, Section 1078 established the TMF and Technology Modernization Board (TMF Board or Board). The Office of Management and Budget’s Memorandum M-18-12 “Implementation of the Modernizing Government Technology Act” defined the initial process for submitting project proposals. We are part of a complex system where the rules of how we operate aren’t often up to us, so we become deeply familiar with the system to navigate it properly. We’re focused on long term impact and don’t mind the paperwork required to make it happen.
##How to apply