The administration is adding money to multiple tech modernization programs and removing the Overseas Contingency Account from the Defense Department request and folding in warfighting funds into the base budget.
NOTE: This article first appeared on FCW.com.
The Biden administration released a $1.5 trillion budget request for fiscal year 2022, which tilts spending more toward civilian, non-defense programs than had been the case in the Trump administration.
The topline or "skinny" budget contains $769 billion in non-defense spending and $753 billion in national defense programs. Non-defense spending is slated to rise 16% over 2021 levels, while defense spending remains basically flat at $753 billion.
The Defense Department budget request is $715 billion, with no separate budget line for the Overseas Contingency Account with the budget instead including war funding in the base budget – something touted as a "significant reform" in the budget request document from Shalanda Young, the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget.
A more detailed budget request will be coming in "the months ahead," Young wrote to congressional leadership. The House and Senate Appropriations Committees will also offer their own spending proposals, which typically hew more closely to what is eventually passed and signed into law.
Tech in the budget
On the technology front, the bill provides a $500 million addition to the Technology Modernization Fund housed at the General Services Administration. That money is on top of a $1 billion boost to the TMF included in the last round of pandemic relief and recovery funding.
Additionally, the bill adds $110 million to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency account at the Department of Homeland Security – an agency that already got a $650 million boost from the National Rescue Plan Act. The plan also adds $20 million for a new Cyber Response and Recovery Fund at CISA.
The budget document also references a $750 million reserve fund for "federal agency information technology enhancements," but it's not clear yet where that account will be housed.
The Department of Labor comes in for a 14% increase in discretionary funding over 2021 levels, with a $14.2 billion budget request. That includes a $100 million fund for states to use to modernize overstressed legacy unemployment insurance systems.
The Biden administration is proposing a $113 billion discretionary budget for the Department of Veterans Affairs, an 8.2% increase over 2021. The funding includes $2.7 billion for the program to convert the agency's homegrown electronic health record system to a commercial platform from Cerner and support interoperability with DOD's systems. Additionally, the VA's Office of Information and Technology is requesting $4.8 billion in funding.