Bush requests 1 percent increase for IT

The White House is seeking its smallest increase in federal IT spending in recent years.

The administration today asked Congress for $59.7 billion for IT hardware, software and services in its fiscal 2005 budget request. The $600 million increase over this year's request of $59.1 billion is a 1 percent increase.

Last year, the Bush administration asked for more than a 12 percent increase in IT spending over 2003. But with a budget deficit and increased spending for homeland security and the war on terrorism, the IT budget became a victim of the White House's attempt to hold down discretionary spending. In his State of the Union speech last month, President Bush said discretionary spending would be held to less than 4 percent across the board.

The request includes 621 major projects worth about $22 billion that the Office of Management and Budget put on a watch list. That list identifies projects that lack at least two of three criteria: adequate security, performance measures or earned value management.

OMB has focused on improving agency IT proposals for each of the last three budget cycles. Last year, 771 projects worth about $20.9 billion made the at-risk list.

The budget says agencies should expect OMB to continue to push for IT security. It outlined three goals for the upcoming year:

  • All agencies by December must create a central remediation process to ensure that program- and system-level security weaknesses are corrected. Each agency inspector general must verify the remediation process.

  • Also by December, IGs or a private third-party organization must certify and accredit as secure at least 80 percent of all federal systems. OMB had hoped to accomplish this goal by December, but so far only 61 percent have been certified and accredited.

  • Finally, agencies by December must integrate security expenditures into each program's lifecycle costs. As of last year, about 75 percent of all projects had done this, OMB said.

  • Jason Miller writes for Government Computer News magazine.

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