Administration calls for boost in technology spending
Despite cuts in dozens of areas in the government, the Bush administration has proposed a 7.1 percent increase in information technology spending for fiscal 2006.
The increase of nearly $5 billion is split between the armed services and the civilian agencies, bringing the proposed IT budget to $65.2 billion.
The National Science Foundation, Homeland Security, Justice and Veterans Affairs departments proposed more than 20 percent increases in IT spending, while the Housing and Urban Development and Labor departments, U.S. Agency for International Development, General Services Administration, NASA, Office of Personnel Management and Social Security Administration projected cuts in their technology budgets.
The overall funding level represents an 11 percent boost from the actual fiscal 2004 budget and is fairly consistent with last year's financial plan with the exception of increases in enterprise architecture and health care technology spending.
Information security spending proposals at 17 agencies rose $1.7 billion, a 7.2 percent hike from fiscal 2005. Justice, Homeland Security, Transportation and the Small Business Administration all received at least 10 percent increases in this area, while the Social Security Administration, Labor and Health and Human Services departments would be given smaller budgets than in fiscal 2005.
The administration requested $5 million for its e-government initiative as well as an additional $40 million from the revenues generated by GSA's General Services Fund.
GSA asked for $2.4 million for fiscal 2006 for the Federal Supply Service to support e-government efforts, including the e-Acquisition, e-Property and e-Travel projects. The funding level represents a decline from the $15.6 million allotted in fiscal 2005.
About $15 billion worth of major IT projects in the president's budget proposal, a total of 342 projects, are on the Office of Management Budget's watch list for falling short in the areas of performance measures, cybersecurity or project management. This is a decline from the 621 projects worth $22 billion that came up short in fiscal 2005.
Ray Bjorklund, senior vice president at Federal Sources Inc., a research firm that analyzes agencies' technology budgets, said that while the budget seeks a 7 percent increase, the actual growth rate over the last three years is only about 3.5 percent. He said, however, that the budget sends a message to federal agencies that information technology has the administration's attention and that investments in long-term savings in technology are worthwhile.
Chris Campbell, a federal market analyst at INPUT, a Reston, Va.-based technology consulting firm, said IT security spending is increasing as agencies allocate more money to getting their systems certified.
According to Campbell, federal chief information officers have been questioning the cost-effectiveness of identifying additional systems in order to improve their rating on the President's Management Agenda score card. Many of the systems are redundant legacy systems that have little or no security, he added.
Harris N. Miller, president of the Information Technology Association of America, said he is pleased that 55 percent of IT spending will fund defense- and homeland security-related projects. The administration's proposal to increase cybersecurity is a step in the right direction, he added, but low evaluations by the Government Accountability Office and agencies' inspector generals show a lack of focus on the issue.Information Technology IT Spending for the Federal Government For Fiscal 2004, 2005 and 2006 (dollars shown in millions)
|Department of Defense *|
|Department of Defense Totals *||$26,900||$28,700||$30,100|
|Department of Agriculture||$1,667||$1,815||$1,931|
|Department of Commerce||$1,325||$1,464||$1,549|
|Department of Education||$407||$364||$391|
|Department of Energy||$2,585||$2,628||$2,889|
|Department of Health and Human Services||$4,598||$5,204||$5,358|
|Department of Homeland Security||$4,757||$4,784||$5,964|
|Department Housing and Urban Development *||$430||$333||$322|
|Department of Interior||$810||$859||$882|
|Department of Justice||$2,118||$2,249||$2,704|
|Department of Labor||$435||$422||$409|
|Department of State||$857||$788||$810|
|US Agency for International Development||$127||$131||$119|
|Department of Transportation||$2,497||$2,498||$2,621|
|Department of Treasury||$2,819||$2,250||$2,332|
|Department of Veterans Affairs||$1,508||$1,661||$2,146|
|Corps of Engineers||$297||$277||$287|
|Environmental Protection Agency||$435||$454||$467|
|General Services Administration||$483||$531||$574|
|National Aeronautics and Space Administration||$2,231||$1,971||$1,903|
|National Archives and Records Administration||$99||$99||$104|
|National Science Foundation||$39||$43||$54|
|Nuclear Regulatory Commission||$76||$83||$88|
|Office of Personnel Management||$127||$148||$127|
|Small Business Administration||$33||$36||$41|
|Social Security Administration||$868||$1,030||$958|
|Civilian Agencies Totals||$31,686||$32,179||$35,087|
|Total IT Investments for the Federal Government||$58,586||$60,879||$65,187|
Source: Office of Management and Budget
* Detailed numbers for the Defense and Housing and Urban Development departments will be published in April 2005.