Government May Increase 2003 IT Budget by $4 Billion, Forman Says

The federal government may increase its information technology budget 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 nearly a 9 percent increase over the $45 billion the president 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 from the immigration service to the police departments to the Navy ships at sea rapidly."

Forman said he expected investments of over $1 billion for knowledge management tools during the next several years. Collaboration tools 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, and said security 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.

Also speaking at the meeting were chief information officers and IT official from 12 agencies, who outlined for the crowd of nearly 750 industry representatives their agencies' needs and priorities in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Mike Wynne, the Department of Defense's principal deputy under secretary for acquisition, technology and logistics, said the department's broad agency announcement released Oct. 23 looking for new technologies to combat terrorism has already received more than 47 submissions.

"We're looking towards small business in particular to answer this call. They have an excellent track record of innovative solutions," he said.

State Department CIO Fernando Burbano said that that agency found after Sept. 11 that it needs more secure voice systems, more robust radio systems and redundant telecommunications systems.

Doug Naquin, the deputy CIO for the Central Intelligence Agency, said the agency has a need for access management tools. "We're open to companies with new ideas," he said.

Jim Gallagher, the acting deputy assistant attorney general for the Department of Justice, said network-scanning tools are needed that could find vulnerabilities in the agency's networks. "We haven't seen much in the way of technology that can do that," he said. Updating legacy systems is another Justice priority.

The FBI's information resources manager Mark A. Tanner said the FBI is accelerating its IT infrastructure modernization schedule so it will be completed by December 2002.

"Our new infrastructure will allow us to accommodate new tools that have been volunteered to us," Tanner said.

Mayi Canales, the Department of Treasury's CIO said that the agency was looking for case management tools, back-up and recovery systems, vulnerability assessments and critical infrastructure protection.

Stephen Colo, Secret Service CIO, said his agency needs information sharing tools, legacy modernization and, in particular, biometrics systems.

"If you are a company with a biometrics solution, we want to hear from you," he said.

Other agency needs described by government officials include:

* Department of Health and Human Services is looking for wireless and redundant communications systems, and implementing some form of consolidated grants management.

* The Federal Emergency Management Agency is looking at strengthening information assurance, communications infrastructures, database and storage management and ways to more efficiently get emergency information to citizens.

* The Department of Commerce is looking for security, critical infrastructure and distributed architectures.

--Additional reporting by Patience Wait

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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