IT budget to grow in '06?at least a little

The federal IT budget will grow by single percentage points next year, Clay Johnson III said today.

When President Bush sends his budget request to Congress Feb. 7, the IT budget "will go up," said the deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget. Johnson, however, refused to be more specific.

Most of the increase will go to IT initiatives at the Defense and Homeland Security departments, OMB officials said.

The growth is in line with the president's fiscal 2005 request. For this fiscal year, the federal IT budget grew by 1 percent, to $59.7 billion from $59.1 billion.

Johnson said the budget will target program results more than ever before. "Our focus is on outcomes and whether we are getting more for the money we are spending," he said. "We have more information about what works and what doesn't, and we are able to make smarter budget decisions."

For fiscal 2006, the administration will propose three new ways to do more with less:

  • Extend flexible human resources regulations, like those at DHS and DOD, to all civilian agencies. The Office of Personnel Management is working on a legislative proposal that it will send to Congress after the budget request.

  • Create a Sunset Commission within Congress that will review 120 programs a year for the next decade and require agencies to justify each program's continued existence.

  • Create a Results Commission?comprised of four Democrats and four Republicans?to look at programs by subject areas, such as training, and make recommendations to OMB about how the programs are performing and how they could be more effective. OMB would then send proposals for changes to Congress.

All three of the proposals would require congressional approval.

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