Forman Promotes IT Budget Boost

Forman Promotes IT Budget Boost

Mark Forman

The federal government may increase spending on information technology by $4 billion in fiscal 2003 to improve security and counter terrorist attacks, said Mark Forman, Office of Management and Budget's associate director for information technology and e-government.

This would represent a nearly 9 percent increase over the $45 billion President Bush requested for IT products and services in 2002.

Speaking Nov. 1 at a meeting sponsored by the Northern Virginia Technology Council, Forman said OMB will emphasize the recently announced e-government initiatives as well as projects that facilitate knowledge management, security, enterprise architecture and distributed decision-making capabilities.

"The days of sending information up 12 levels of management and waiting for a decision to come back down those 12 levels are over," Forman said of the need for improved decision-making tools. "We need to get information rapidly from the immigration service to the police departments to the Navy ships at sea."

Forman said he expected investments of more than $1 billion for knowledge management tools during the next several years. Collaboration tools also are an important item, as are peer-to-peer computing models to share information among agencies.

He also predicted $1 billion in spending for security, noting it may receive increased funding in 2002.

In the area of enterprise architecture, Forman said analysis would be done to find redundancies and implement solid business approaches for enterprise-level architectures.

"If you can't make a business case for what you want to implement, we won't fund it," Forman said.

Agency officials speaking at the same meeting outlined needs and priorities that included increasing spending on secure voice systems, more robust radio systems and redundant telecommunications systems. Other needs discussed ranged from network-scanning tools and infrastructure modernization to case management and back-up and recovery systems.

Many agencies also are looking at vulnerability assessments, critical infrastructure protection, information assurance and biometrics.

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