Program growth influences civilian IT budgets

Like many other domestic agencies, the Interior Department and its IT programs are scheduled for reductions under the Bush administration's fiscal 2007 budget proposal. But some technology programs are slated to increase. The budget proposal's $10.7 billion overall spending allocation is a reduction of $332 million, or 2.9 percent.

One of the programs slated for an increase is the Geological Survey's Landsat Data Continuity Mission, which would receive an additional $16 million to build a system to process data from the Landsat 8 satellite set to be launched in 2010. The remote-sensing satellite gathers data important for business, land management and scientific purposes, Interior said.

Also for USGS, the budget proposes creation of a multihazards pilot to merge information on various risk areas into consolidated form to support department planning.

The budget calls for funding several IT initiatives carried out by Interior's Central Services operation and provided in exchange for fees from the department's component agencies. The projects include consolidation of the department's messaging systems into a single enterprise system, creation of an enterprise system for geospatial information and funding for an enterprise services network that provides Internet and intranet access as well as a technical-support center.

Taken together, central IT initiatives are slated to cost less than $122 million. The Central Services organization as a whole is slated to receive $35 million, an increase of $1.7 million from the 2006 level.

A separate account for the Inspector General's Office calls for an increase of $174 million for computer equipment and software, according to budget documents.

State Department IT pinched

The fiscal 2007 budget request for the State Department calls for a reduction in the Capital Investment Fund that provides funds for IT across the department. It is scheduled to decrease from $76.8 million in 2006 to $68.5 million in 2007.

State's budget documents note that every department program now depends on IT, and that technology funding is laced throughout the agency's budget request to the amount of $881 million.

The combined budgets of State, the Agency for International Development and other foreign-affairs agencies amount to $35.1 billion, the department said.

Justice technology forges ahead

The fiscal 2007 budget plan proposes $20.8 billion for the Justice Department, of which $330.8 million will be increases directed at fighting terrorism, the department said.

The FBI's flagship Sentinel case management system program is slated to receive $100 million in nonpersonnel funding, according to the budget proposal. "Sentinel will serve as the primary information repository used for analysis and reporting for both investigative and administrative casework," the department said. It will replace the failed Virtual Case File investigative case management system and potentially serve as a model for other agencies under the case management line of business program.

Separately, the Justice budget plan calls for $8.3 million for secure communications including instituting a public-key infrastructure security and a departmentwide classified information network.

In the general Justice IT arena, the budget calls for additional spending on the Unified Financial Management System, secure communications and the Justice Consolidated Office Network. According to Justice, the department will devote $133.9 million to departmentwide IT improvements.

EPA blooms quietly

The Environmental Protection Agency is slated for total spending of $7.3 billion in 2007, down from $7.6 billion in 2006. But even as the agency faced an overall reduction, some IT accounts could increase.

For example, an umbrella account for IT and data management is set to increase from $116 million this year to $118.4 million in 2007.

EPA's research on computational toxicology is slated to increase from $12.3 million to $14.9 million in 2007. The agency seeks to increase its spending on IT security from $4 million this year to $6.3 million in 2007, according to budget documents.

But the administration seeks to slow down spending on the National Information Exchange program, a gateway for electronic links to EPA's data, from $19.4 million in 2006 to $17.5 million next year.

Labor does the job

The Labor Department's total budget is set to increase to $54.1 billion, up from $51.3 billion last fiscal year.

The department plans a small decrease in its central IT activities, to $29.4 million in 2007 from $29.5 million in 2006.

The central IT activities account largely will support upgrades to the department's technology infrastructure, including LANs, software, cabling and telecommunications gear, Labor said. The upgrades will help the department implement its future enterprise architecture, according to budget documents.

The budget includes $12.0 million for the Employee Benefits Security Administration to roll out a new data system for processing annual reports of employee benefit plan information. The department said "This technology will provide workers timely and accurate information about their employee benefit plans and help them make informed decisions about their retirement."

FCC seeks technology upgrades

The budget for the Federal Communications Commission reflected the administration's stringency by requesting $302.5 million for 2007, a $1.5 million reduction from 2006.

The commission requested $700,000 to automate a paper-based system for coordinating frequency assignments with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. The new money also would support a study of whether FCC should migrate to the Federal Docket Management System, as the Office of Management and Budget is encouraging agencies to do.

Wilson P. Dizard III is a senior writer for Washington Technology's sister publication, Government Computer News.


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