IT budgets are up and down in fiscal '07 request

Under President Bush's fiscal 2007 budget request, submitted to Congress last week, agencies would get an IT budget of $64.2 billion, a 3 percent increase over fiscal 2006.

In the budget, the administration said it would launch three new Lines of Business
Consolidation initiatives for IT infrastructure, budget formulation and geospatial investments.

The Office of Management and Budget, as expected, named three Grants LOB Centers of Excellence: the departments of Education, Health and Human Services, and the National Science Foundation. OMB expects the centers to save more than $2.4 billion between 2008 and 2015.

The president also requested $5.5 billion for health IT, a $100 million increase over fiscal 2006. According to Federal Sources Inc., about $3.25 billion would go for Defense Department health IT, and about $2.25 billion would be split among bioterrorism-specific applications, health IT infrastructure, e-health record applications, including HealtheVet and Vista, and other public health systems.

The Defense Department is asking a spare 1.3 percent increase over last year's IT budget, to $30.5 billion from $30.1 billion. Funding priorities include $5.3 billion for the Joint Strike Fighter; $3.7 billion for the Army's Future Combat Systems, including prototype platform development, and network and software development and testing; $3.3 billion in procurement and research, development, test and evaluation for the Navy's DD(X) destroyer; and $1.3 billion for the Joint Tactical Radio System.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) called the defense budget "a thoughtful allocation of dollars, divided between the immediate challenges of funding the warfighting efforts of the global war on terrorism and investing in requirements to defeat future threats."

Outside of the Defense Department, the big winner in IT budget increases is the Homeland Security Department, with a 21.2 percent increase over fiscal 2006's request, to $4.41 billion.
The Transportation Security Administration has the largest proposed rise in IT spending, to $606 million, while the Federal Emergency Management Agency would see a drop in its IT budget from $94 million to $77 million.

DHS' largest IT line item is infrastructure, up from $887 million last year to $954 million in 2007. And U.S. Visit's IT budget, $407 million, includes a $60 million increase to expand its biometrics systems to 10 fingerprints.

Excluding the Homeland Security Department, civilian IT budgets total less than $30 billion. Most civilian agencies that got IT budget increases got single-digit raises, with the departments of Housing and Urban Development (a 15 percent bump from $258 million to $298 million) and Labor (up 13.2 percent from $455 million to $515 million) being the exception.

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