Daniels: '04 IT budget about $60 billion

The Bush administration's request for federal IT funding for fiscal 2004 could increase by more than 15 percent over the 2003 request, Mitchell E. Daniels Jr., director of the Office of Management and Budget, said yesterday.

Daniels, speaking at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce event in Washington, said the agency IT budget request would be "about $60 billion" next year. The administration requested about $52 billion in 2003 and Congress has passed only two of 13 appropriations bills.

"There are tons of overlap and redundancies and we are going to continue to work at it," he said. "There are far too many plans for which we do not have good business cases. Many plans really are counterproductive in the sense that they built systems that cannot talk to systems we have now."

IT spending could be one of the few areas where agencies will see a significant increase. Daniels said most programs would see only a modest increase over the 2003 request.

"The president is recommending a deceleration of spending," he said. "There will be moderate growth in nondefense discretionary spending."

The administration is scheduled to release its budget request Feb. 3.

Payton Smith, manager for market analysis for Input of Chantilly, Va., said Daniels' estimate is a generous increase over Input's projection of $54 billion for 2004.

"I'm wondering if it is the same type situation that happened this year with the budget request," he said. "We saw a relatively significant increase in the request because the estimate for 2002 increased by about $4 billion."

Smith said most of the increase would likely be seen in three main areas: homeland defense, e-government and security.

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