GSA FAS Focus

The Technology Modernization Fund

November 15, 2021 U.S. General Services Administration Season 1 Episode 14
GSA FAS Focus
The Technology Modernization Fund
Show Notes Transcript

Join us as we talk with Raylene Yung - Executive Director of GSA’s Technology Modernization Fund Program Management Office. You may know the Technology Modernization Fund by its acronym, the TMF.  The TMF was set up to fund projects for, quote, technology related activities to improve information technology, and to enhance cybersecurity across the federal government.”  While it previously had a relatively small balance sheet, the TMF recently  received a one billion dollar investment thanks to the American Rescue Plan, along with new repayment guidelines. Combine those two with a very aggressive White House cybersecurity agenda and we’ve got a lot to talk about this week.

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>> Welcome to GSA FAS Focus, a look at what is happening in and around the U.S. General Services Administration's Federal Acquisition Service. I'm Joan Kornblith, and today I'm talking with Raylene Yung, Executive Director of GSA's Technology Modernization Fund Program Management Office. Now, you may know the Technology Modernization Fund by its acronym the TMF. TMF is a relatively new program. It was established in 2017 as part of the Modernizing Government Technology Act. The TMF was set up to fund projects for quote technology related activities to improve information technology and to enhance cybersecurity across the federal government end quote. While it previously had a relatively small balance sheet, the TMF recently received a 1 billion dollar investment thanks to the American Rescue Plan, along with new repayment guidelines. Combine those two with a very aggressive White House cybersecurity agenda, and we have got a lot to talk about. Of course we'll also be running down some training info for you. And as always, putting a few fascinating facts in FAS Focus. Welcome back to FAS Focus, a look at what is happening throughout GSA's Federal Acquisition Service. I'm Joan Kornblith. And please, if you have not done so yet, click that button that says subscribe. That way you will never miss an episode of FAS Focus. And yes, we are available on all of your favorite podcast sites. But subscribing just makes it so simple. No more hunting around for your favorite episode. Coming up, I'm going to be talking with Raylene Yung, technology transformation fund executive director. We're going to learn all about the TMF, which is exactly what it sounds like. It is a program designed to fund projects for technology related activities to improve information technology, and to also enhance cybersecurity across the federal government. We'll hear all about what's going on with the TMF since it received a big cash infusion, thanks to the American Rescue Plan, and also how Raylene found her way to GSA from her first job with a small tech startup called Facebook. Well, I will say there were a few other very interesting stops for her along the way to 1800 F. But first, you know it is that time of year again. Are you looking for some CLPs? Are you free on Wednesday, November 17th? Check this out. GSA's Region 2 business development team has a one CLP webinar coming up that covers everything about OS4, the FSSI Office of Life 4th Generation solution. OS4, as you may know, lets customers cut costs and increase efficiencies by buying [inaudible] supplies, including pens, paper, and printing supplies at negotiated low prices. This program will teach you how to order supplies through the FSSI OS4 purpose channel, and also provides a live walk through with GSA Advantage. Again, the date is Wednesday, November 17th.

The course is from 2:

00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Yes, it is that time of year again, 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Eastern,

which means this course starts at 1:

00 Central, a noon start time for our friends of Mountain Time. And if you are on the west coast, it is a very civilized 11:00 a.m. start for you. If you need more info, just visit gsa.gov/events and scroll down to November 17th and look for the FSSI OS4 event. [ Music ] Welcome back to FAS Focus, a look at what's happening in and around GSA's Federal Acquisition Service. I'm Joan Kornblith, and today I am joined by Raylene Yung, Executive Director of the Technology Modernization Fund. Welcome to FAS Focus. >> Thank you. Excited to be here. >> Oh, good. Well, I'm excited that you're here too. And as we speak, this is what, Week 7 or 8 for you at GSA? >> Yeah, mostly. I think it's, yeah, exactly, Week 7 or 8. >> Well, I mentioned earlier that your first job was at Facebook. Now, you were not there at day one. But the Facebook that you joined as an engineer isn't quite the same company that it is today. Before we dive into the TMF, let's talk a little bit about you. Let's talk about your last stops before GSA. You were working on the Biden/Harris transition. You were co founder and CEO of the U.S. Digital Response that was a non profit that in response to the COVID pandemic provided support in areas like vaccination equity, unemployment insurance, housing security and food access. Now, your career has taken you not just to San Francisco, but all around the world. >> Yeah, that's right. And it's actually funny, you know, it's like the thing where when you look backwards, you see more patterns than when you're kind of living the life. So, in many ways, it felt like I've done all these different things and taken left and right turns, but looking back now, I see kind of a lot of through lines for how I ended up here. But, yeah, happy, happy to share a little bit about just kind of my background. So, you know, as you mentioned, I started out as a software engineer. My first job out of grad school was at Facebook, and really worked on, you know, building core platforms and software products and APIs. And I think, you know, when I started out there, I really thought of software engineering as a fun way, kind of interesting intellectually challenging way to build things, to build things, see them work, make problems easier to solve for people inside and outside the company. But through my time there, and as I kind of developed as an engineer and eventually a manager and leader, I kind of recognized that what's so powerful about technology is the ability it has to change people's lives in many ways. And the more I worked on it, the more I thought about what can, what is the most positive impact that technology can have on not just people's lives, but society. And so, you know, years after I left Facebook, I joined another start up and spent some time abroad thinking, and looking at how technology was scaling in the emerging countries. And then finally like realized like maybe the best way to have that impact is actually to join the public sector, to kind of work with governments. And the more I think, you know, of all entities in the world, I think governments have the most responsibility to serving the people that live here and society in general. So, that's kind of how I ended up doing what I'm doing now. >> So, at what point did you say public service is cool? >> I think actually public service is something I've been interested in probably my whole life. You know, from a young age, I grew up really I say like being a child of the public system. I went to public schools growing up. One of my favorite institutions that we have is the Public Library System. >> Oh, yeah. >> Every, you know, my big field trip every Saturday was to go to the library with my parents and check out, you know, kind of a stack of books, like three feet high, and get through them each week and return them. So, I have such gratitude to just the public services that everyone relies on in this country. So, I would say it's always been in the back of my mind. And even when I was in college, I thought, you know, instead of joining a private sector company, should I, should I do something else? So, I'd say it's kind of always been there. But as I software engineer, you know, in Silicon Valley, I think there was some straw. And I'm also very driven by learning. And so, and growth, personal growth. And so there was just so much draw to like see what was happening in this kind of new industry that was growing. And I say, I think I spent, you know, 10 years there, really kind of becoming just better and more well versed in software engineering, engineering management, product management. And so in 2019, when I left my last tech job, I had this moment where it almost all came together where I realized, you know, I still had that passion for public service, now I had all these kind of skills I had honed in industry. How could I finally bring these things together, right? And so that was the moment where I actually took a while to just look at what was going on. And I thought, you know, what are problems that I can help solve now with this like kind of experience and desire? And met a lot of people who worked in public service, met a lot of early I would say like founders of kind of the civic tech and government technology kind of modern movement, like the founder of Cultural America, became a close friend and mentor, and early founders of the U.S. Digital Service and 18F, you know, here at GSA. And so I just really got to like know the people. And then from there, it felt like something that became more and more something I could see myself doing. I could just kind of picture what it might look like to work in the government. But, you know, the big, the big change was really forming and founding U.S. digital response, which definitionally was kind of this meeting of worlds. It's basically half seasoned people from the tech industry and half government veterans. And that's, it was just an amazing kind of like trial run in a way of public service, but kind of slightly from the outside and slightly from the inside. >> So, tell us a little bit more about that. I mean, how did you roll this out? And then what happened? >> If you kind of rewind to March, 2020, there was a lot happening in the world then. And as I mentioned, I had kind of, at that point in time, been really actively thinking about how to kind of marry my desire of public service and my experience in the tech industry. So, at that time, there was like a small group of people coming together. Alumni from 18F, from U.S. Digital Service, who were thinking, you know, how do we proactively offer help to state and local governments that are really going to be facing sort of unprecedented challenges from the COVID 19 pandemic? And how do we do this in this kind of tech forward, remote friendly, virtual environment? So, with a very small group of people, there are basically somewhere around, you know, five to ten of us to start, we decided, hey, let's just get together and start getting people together, just start offering help to governments where we can. That quickly snowballed much faster than any of us expected. I think within a month, we had 3 or 4,000 people who had signed up to give their time. And we had dozens of government like partners, people who actually worked in state and local governments. So, just imagine like month over month, we kind of built more familiarity with the challenges that state and local governments were facing, and we built kind of this growing sort of virtual army or community of technologists who just wanted to help and give back to their local communities or to, you know, local governments in general. So, that's kind of how it grew. And I think, you know, as any, something that's just a common pattern I think in software and tech is like the best things that get big eventually just start small, and they are nimble, and they know how to iterate and improve with each version and with each passing month. So, that was really the story of U.S. digital response. Like every month that it has existed, I think it has in some ways reinvented itself, taken on new problems, taken on new team members, and I think just kind of like learned and grown and tried to have more imperious pack. >> I'm Joan Kornblith. You're listening to GSA FAS Focus. By the way, if you have not yet subscribed to our podcast, please do so. It's just a quick click, and it will make everyone associated with the program very happy. If you have got questions about anything you are hearing today or someone you'd like to hear featured on this program, send us a note. The e mail address is gsafasfocus@gsa.gov. That is gsafasfocus@gsa.gov. Today, my guest is Raylene Yung, Executive Director of the Technology Modernization Fund. Okay, here is the big question. It was the one I know you have been waiting for. How does the TMF work? Is this a grant system? Do agencies propose projects to improve their tech and then they get a loan from the TMF to make them happen? What is this all about? >> So, what's so interesting about the Technology Modernization Fund is it doesn't map that cleanly that kind of these other concepts that you might think. Like it's not really traditional investment fund, it's not really just grant making or loans. And the reason for that is it ties together a number of different concepts that are quite unique and I think innovative in funding for technology modernization in the government. So, a few different things. I think for one, it's very mission oriented and has kind of the idea of tying funding with strategic priorities and strategic direction. So, one example is we recently were affixes appropriated 1 billion dollars from the American Rescue Plan. And that money really is meant to go towards a series of goals and kind of strategic focus areas like, you know, helping systems adapt to this new world of the post COVID 19 kind of conversion to online services and virtual services. It's focused on, you know, using, helping governments leverage more shared services. It's helping, it goes towards improving our cybersecurity posture and modernization across federal agencies. And how to, and it's also going towards facilitating, you know, cross government collaboration and leveraging these [inaudible] services that I mentioned. So, one is that it has, there's sort of a strategy and a prioritization, framework kind of baked into the intentions of the fund. I think another piece that makes it really interesting is it is not a kind of thing where, you know, an agency applies for funding and we give them money and they're sort of off to the races and that's it. Instead, it's really meant to be a close collaboration between the Technology Modernization Fund and the agency that's undertaking this modernization. So, we check in regularly every month, every quarter. And the idea of the funding itself is that it's incremental, it's tied to milestones. So, a big, you know, failure mode in a lot of large government modernization projects is they may sign off with a contractor and spend, you know, let's say 50 million dollars over five years, and it kind of just goes off and may or may not succeed. And actually there's a very high failure rate for large kind of like, you know, large contracts like that. And instead, the TMF is breaking that model. Instead, we may agree that, hey, this will take that much money over five years. But instead, we have the opportunity month over month or year over year to kind of check on how it's going, and actually change direction if that makes sense. So, I think those are just a few different things that make the TMF very interesting. >> So, walk me through this process. How are proposals submitted? And how are projects considered? >> So, federal agencies can submit what we've called like initial kind of project proposal. And it's like a short write up of what they're trying to achieve. And the idea is that it covers, you know, what is the impact of this modernization project, you know, how are they going to approach it? How does it tie to kind of a broader strategic push or focus area for the TMF? And what do they need to get this project down to what kind of technical approach are they taking, what kind of staffing do they need, what kind of, you know, contracting and procurement do they need to take care of? So, it's really meant to give our team kind of a high level, higher level view of what they're trying to accomplish. So, then the TMF team in collaboration with TMF board, we really sit and like take a look at all of these proposals that come in and really think about, what are we seeing, what are opportunities for collaboration between agencies? How do these tie into our higher level goals of building better shared services or advancing kind of, improving cybersecurity at scale? So, we kind of do this sort of critical analysis of proposals and then kind of boil that down to a smaller set that are sort of invited to kind of move to the next stage. So, you know, the second stage is much more in depth. It may require kind of more back and forth, more discussions around what are they trying to accomplish, more details on the plan. And also ultimately culminates in kind of an in person or virtual review with the TMF board, where we're able to have like a dialogue and conversation with the agency team that's leading this project. So, after all that, you know, we'll discuss what kind of, discuss and decide whether we're going to move forward. And then that's when we kind of kick off the actual investment and start by kind of granting agencies that first, you know, set of, that first amount of like incremental funding to kind of get them started. And it kicks off kind of a, you know, continuous partnership where we can check in and see how things go along the way. >> You mentioned earlier a billion dollar infusion recently. What type of projects get funded with that type of money? I mean, they can't all be big huge projects. But, and you don't have to go into too much depth. But if you could just give us sort of an overview of the type of projects that get funded by the TMF. >> Yeah, and I think one thing that's really also very unique is I do think we have a very unique vantage point of what is happening across the federal government. So, one thing I'll say is the proposals that we receive vary really widely. So, they come from very large agencies, very small agencies, sometimes, you know, many of them may have a common theme like, you know, improving and moving to a zero trust architecture. But others may be very different, and very agency specific. The dollar amounts also range widely. You'll have some that sometimes are a few hundred thousand dollar requests, and sometimes it's, you know, many millions. So, I think that's what makes it, it's very interesting, is it's not really a formula. It really is, the idea is that these proposals really kind of match and are articulated by the agencies about something they're really specifically trying to get done. So, that's kind of the types of things we receive. In terms of what we are investing in, we just announced our first [inaudible] of awards from those ARP funds last month. And what's really exciting is, you know, every investment that we've made actually addresses multiple kind of categories that we've been prioritizing. So, we announced, you know, seven new awards, and five of them actually are all modernizing very high priority systems in the federal government. Five of them address cybersecurity, two of them, you know, are more public facing digital services. Others are cross governmental collaboration tools and shared services. So, I think it's kind of an interesting mix. But all of them share these themes of they're really trying to advance one of these priority areas like cybersecurity, COVID 19 relief and recovery, shared services, or high impact, public facing digital services. >> I'm Joan Kornblith. You're listening to GSA FAS Focus. Today, my guest is Raylene Yung, Executive Director of the Technology Modernization Fund. We just heard a little bit about how projects are proposed and considered to receive funding from the Technology Modernization Fund. Now, are these projects all ones that are going to take, you know, 5, 10, 15 years to complete, or did some of them have much more compressed timelines? >> Yeah, I think that, I actually think we look for is projects that can show impact, both kind of incrementally, and as they go. Right? So, what we're looking for is actually investments and projects that as they get kicked off, you know, maybe in the first months or year, we can actually quickly see what those results are. And that kind of ties to our incremental and kind of more innovative funding model where we want to see progress as we go. So, even though, you know, a full end to end project might take a few years, we're really hoping with each quarter we actually have, we're able to see what the impact is, and able to kind of like, you know, improve or strengthen or change direction. So, I would say they are long term in their impact, eventual impact, but we want to see kind of those quick results, and see them kind of evolve and iterate over time. >> And if you don't see those quick results, and then if you don't see a little while later any results, can you, you mentioned pivoting, can you just do a complete 180 and say wait a minute, this is not working, let's either shut this down or just completely stop? >> Yeah, I think that's, I mean, that's definitely something that we can do. And I think it's something that actually is important to remember that is kind of property of the TMF where, you know, we want ultimately this money and these investments to be kind of achieving these modernization goals. So, if, you know, a project kind of ends up, you know, and this is actually, I think, in many ways we should expect to happen over time. Like you may set out to have some goal, some plan. And as you get started, you're going to learn things that make you realize that was the wrong direction or, you know, it's not turning out the way you expected. And so I think the flexibility is there to, like you said, either change direction, maybe stop the project, or kind of focus on other areas. And actually what's interesting is we've had a number of investments from the past few years that have actually already shown this kind of, you know, kind of development and iteration where in some cases they've learned something from the first six months or a year and realized, hey, like actually we're better off investing in this other area, and ends up being a conversation with TMF and TMF board. So, yeah, I think that's definitely the intention. And ultimately in the end we just want this money and these investments to be kind of channelled towards what we think is the most impactful work. And I think that's a shared goal with the agency. So, it's a conversation. And I think it's, I think it's a really exciting way that we can use TMF. >> Okay, finally, we are at this point. I have to tell you, Raylene, this is my favorite part of the program. Not just because it's the end. I shouldn't even say that. But give me a second to reach over here. I have got the old crystal ball out. I don't know if you can see it yet. It's really, it's dirty. And yes, it's in need of a deep clean. But, you know, if it was clean and shiny, I wouldn't need to ask you this question, because I could see the answer myself. We're going to look ahead two or three years. Where do you think the TMF is going to be in two or three years? Or maybe the better question is, is there a big void that you would like to see filled, some project that you think the TMF could make possible? >> Yeah, and, you know, this is, I think something that just is what's so exciting about the work. Like I think a lot about what that future vision could be. And sometimes it changes a little bit day to day, but it's always exciting. So, I guess I'll answer it, you know, what I think is special is there's so many different layers that the TMF can kind of affect. So, you know, maybe from the bottom up, I think for one, I think it can actually just as a, as a team, as a vehicle, kind of like model a different way to make investments, like just this idea of iterative incremental funding, this idea of like collaboration with kind of a board or a dedicated team of technologists and subject matter experts. Like I just think it is, it can be, and it will be kind of just a new way, a new way of like investing, just sort of something that's novel, and I hope through the impact of our investments, like show that this can work and sort of serve an example for other types of investments. So, that's maybe one. I think a second one is just the impact of the projects, the investments that we've made. Like I can think of all the ones that we've made today, and just imagine this world where we fast forward and we look back and we're like, wow, you know, that investment in login.gov helped a hundred million, you know, users access services spanning dozens of federal agencies. Like that's a world that I want to live in, right? And similarly, we just need a number of investments in helping agencies, you know, through a zero trust architecture, and that's one where I think it's not just about those agencies, it's can the TMF investments and collaboration do, take what we did with, you know, two or three agencies, and actually think about how to scale out those learnings, those playbooks, those resources, just that knowledge to kind of all federal agencies. So, I think there's kind of this idea of taking the impact of the investments themselves, but sort of amplifying and scaling them to, you know, enterprise wide, or government wide, you know, initiatives. So, that's another layer. But I think, you know, going to the highest one, the highest macro view, I mean, I just think what could be so exciting is that, is just that the TMF in collaboration with many other groups and the agencies that we work with has somehow shown that technology modernization in the government just can be done in a different way at massive scale and show enormous impact with less money than is traditionally done today. I mean, today, the amount of money that is spent on government technology is immense, you know, some numbers are 90 billion dollars a year. And actually a tiny fraction of that goes to what I think is kind of new development or making systems actually modern and be able to be updated quickly and to be responsive to work at the speed of need is something we always say, like how do our, how do we make our technology match the needs of our people. Right? And I think, I just think the TMF is going to be part of that recipe, but it's all about just I think there's something really powerful about just showing a different way that it can be done, and then that kind of raises the benchmark for everyone, all government modernization projects, right? So, we don't have to do it all ourselves. And we won't. I mean, obviously we can't. It's not that big. But I think we can maybe raise the bar and sort of create a new arcitype of what a successful technology modernization project could look like. And that can really have impact that can, you know, echo and really shape the government for years to come. >> Hearing you say all that I think would get technologists excited about working in government. What is the draw for technologists manage to work for government? Why should they? What's the potential impact that they can have? >> Yeah, well, actually, here's what I would say. Something that is so interesting about technology, especially software and software products over the last 10, 20 years, is I think it has steadily been improving and sort of inventing new concepts and technologies and tools that have made our everyday lives a lot better. Right? You think of the idea of like being able to order food and, you know, clothing and all these services from your phone and have to show up at your door the next day. And right now in government, in the public sector, I really believe that the tech industry has already invented all the technology it needs to solve the problems in public services. Like the technology is already ready. So, what's so exciting about now having people join the government is the hard part in some ways of like creating these concepts, making sure they work, is done. Now it's about how do you apply everything we've already learned to these real concrete massive real world problems? And how do we just scale what we know works in a new environment? So, for me, that's really exciting. Like as a technologist, as a software engineer, as a product person, like the best type of problem is where you have the user, you have the impact, and you have the tools. And it's just about bringing it all together. So, what I would say is like, you know, right now, it's just such a wonderful time to join government. Like you have, there's so many things online behind that. And so, and I also believe that what's special about technology is that it can scale so much faster than most things in the world. Like you can, if you can make it work in one system, it can be scaled like overnight. And so, yeah, I just think right now is the time. The skills are there, the time is now really. >> Okay, technologists, Raylene is telling you now is the time. We've been talking with Raylene Yung, Executive Director of the Technology Modernization Fund. Thanks so much for being here with us today. If you are interested in learning more about anything you heard on this program, where can they get more information about the TMF or anything? >> Oh, best place is you can check out our website, Technology Modernization Fund. It's tmf.cio.gov. But, yeah, we hope to share a lot more on the site over as we do more. >> Well, you can also reach out to us with questions. The address is gsafasfocus@gsa.gov. And please, I hope you click to subscribe to our podcast. If you have not done so yet, do it right now. We will wait for you. Coming up, news of another great training opportunity and some fascinating FAS facts. I am Joan Kornblith, and you are listening to GSA FAS Focus. [ Music ] Welcome back to FAS Focus, a look at what is happening throughout GSA's Federal Acquisition Service. I'm Joan Kornblith, and it is time now for our new segment called Success Shorts. That's our opportunity to do a little bit of bragging and shine our spotlight on a GSA team that is doing something out of the ordinary. I'm joined now by FAS Focus producer Max Stempora, and you told me earlier that we are spotlighting ELS, our Emergency Lodging Service, this time. Now, I know a little bit about that program. Like the office that we showcased last time, Short Term Rentals, Emergency Lodging Service also gets the call when there's an emergency or a disaster. This program was specifically established to assist agencies quickly secure lodging and services. >> That's true, Joan. However, that's not the only time ELS provides support. While ELS provides relief in times of natural disasters, they also have the ability to support state, tribal, and local governments when they need lodging support around national security events, say presidential inauguration, the G7 Summit to the U.S., political conventions, and visits by international dignitaries. >> Okay, so what is the ELS success story that you have for us today? >> So, recently, when parts of Louisiana and Mississippi were left devastated during Hurricane Ida, FEMA reached out to ELS to find lodging for first responders and citizens who had been displaced by flooding. That was a big storm, it left power lines down, roads littered with debris, and communities were flooded. The ELS program was able to get the first several thousand displaced citizens into hotel rooms in less than 24 hours after a signed declaration of disaster. >> Wow. >> I know, right? Ensuring that the families had safe places to sleep for the night. Since the onset of Hurricane Ida, 174,548 room nights have been utilized. Working that out, that's about 10,000 hotel rooms a night each day. And those rooms were stretched throughout 10 different states, from Alabama all the way out to New Mexico. So, a large swath of the lower half of the United States. At this time, ELS was also working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on behalf of the U.S. Department of State to secure lodging for Afghan refugees who were either COVID positive or considered medically fragile. The ELS program was able to secure an entire facility, that's all 324 rooms, in close proximity to Dulles International Airport, within a few hours of the Corps of Engineers reaching out. >> Well, congratulations. That is a huge job. I mean, covering disasters, helping with the Afghan refugees, that success story that we're highlighting today is how the Emergency Lodging Service assisted after communities in parts of Louisiana and Mississippi were devastated by Hurricane Ida, and also the ELS role in quickly securing lodging for Afghan refugees who were either COVID positive or considered medically fragile. For more on ELS, please visit www.gsa.gov/els. I'm Joan Kornblith. Coming up on FAS Focus, we have a few fascinating FAS facts for you. [ Music ] Welcome back to GSA FAS Focus. I'm Joan Kornblith. We are almost out of time for today, but we always leave you with a few fascinating FAS facts. Are you ready today, Max? >> I'm, I'm hopeful today, Joan. So, what are we talking about? >> Well, last program, we talked about the search.gov tool that's run out of the Technology Transformation Service. Today, how about we take a look at usa.gov, the government's official web portal and online guide to information and services. Do you have any idea how long that site has been around? >> I'm going to guess for as long as the internet has existed. >> Well, that's actually pretty close. Not that close, though, but pretty close. Usa.gov went online during the Clinton administration on September 22nd, 2000, to be exact. Back then, it was called firstgov.gov. Seven years later, the name was officially changed to usa.gov. And usa.gov's mission is to make it easier for everyone to find and understand the government's services and the information they need. And since it's a website, the information is always available. It's available for you any time. You can access it anywhere you are. So, 24/7, no matter where you are, you just have to be able to get online, obviously. Now, you may be wondering what kind of information is available. Well, I am serious when I say I was able to find everything I was looking for. COVID facts, facts about vaccinations, information about federal student loan programs, how to research my family history in the national archives, that was available to me on usa.gov. Details about social service agencies in my state. The list goes on. And it seems like a lot of people are looking for information. >> That's right, Joan. Are you ready for some facts and numbers here? >> Okay. >> In FY20, usa.gov experienced a 54% increase in call center volume. They also had a 65% increase in web traffic and a 112% surge in e mail inquiries. And finally, check these last two out. Usa.gov received more than 97 million website visits during FY20. >> Wow. >> And I think the site may have another record year. Within the last 30 days only, there has been over 5.6 million visits to usa.gov. >> That is a lot of interest in usa.gov. Again, the site, usa.gov. It is the U.S. government's official web portal, so it's the place to go to find out about all kinds of government services. If you're looking for info about military benefits or Social Security or even unclaimed money from the government, start your search on usa.gov first. Now, if there's anything else FAS related that you'd like to learn about, or someone you'd like to hear featured on FAS Focus, let me know. Send a note to GSA FAS Focus at gsa.gov. That is G S A F A S Focus at gsa.gov. I'm Joan Kornblith. I put the words together. Max Stempora is our producer. Domini Artis handles social media. Thank you to Raylene Yung for joining us and explaining all about the TMF. FAS Focus is a production of the U.S. General Services Administration's Office of Strategic Communication. [ Music ]