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06:44 AM
Mitch Wagner, TechWeb
Mitch Wagner, TechWeb
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Bush Administration To Request $59 Billion IT Budget, Up 12 Percent From Current Year

The Bush Administration will request $59 billion from Congress for IT spending in fiscal 2004, up 12 percent from the current fiscal year, according to a high-level federal IT official. Also, six core business functions will be consolidated, including financial management.

The Bush Administration will request $59 billion from Congress for IT spending in fiscal 2004, up 12 percent from the current fiscal year, according to a high-level federal IT official.

The additional funds would go to increased cybersecurity, as well as modernization and improved efficiency, said Mark Forman, associate director for information technology and e-government at the Office of Management and Budget. Forman spoke at the Oracle AppsWorld user and partner conference recently held in San Diego.

The budget includes over 700 major projects, representing $21 billion in spending, that are designated at risk of failing to come in as planned, or with inadequate security, Forman said. Those projects will not be funded until their deficiencies are ameliorated.

The budget will include $4.7 billion for cyber security, up 10 percent over this year.

The government is looking to cut costs by consolidating and integrating related applications, buying enterprise-wide licenses for software and correcting cost overruns.

"We can expect to see hundreds of millions in savings from consolidation," Forman said.

The government is looking to develop a government-wide enterprise architecture, including Web-based strategies for improving access to information and services, Forman said. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is developing new Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) to govern federal IT spending.

And the government is looking to make workforce improvements, especially in project management. Funds will not be released for projects without significant program management, including quantitative milestones to measure project effectiveness. "When we see those programs in place, we'll release the funds," Forman said.

In cybersecurity, the government is looking to stop development of new projects in agencies where cybersecurity is most lax, and instead focus on enhancing security in legacy systems. Forman said.

The budget will be focused on re-engineering business processes, rather than simply automating existing practices.

Another focus: eliminating islands of automation. The federal government recently had 22,000 Web sites, and is in the process of consolidating.

Targeted for consolidation are core line-of-business applications such as financial management. Last week, the federal government announced it is consolidating payroll. The government currently has 22 payroll processes, and is looking to save over $1 billion by making the process more efficient. The government pays an average $77 per government employee for paychecks, while the commercial average is about half that, $39, Forman said.

Six core business functions will be consolidated, including financial management, public health information, criminal investigation and public health monitoring. In each area, the government is targeting $100 million in redundancies for elimination.

Desktop support costs are a focus for cost-cutting. The average spending per desktop has decreased to $5,000 this year. One agency requested an annual budget of $18,000 per seat, and was turned down, Forman said.

E-learning and wireless data networks will be increased focuses for federal IT.

$1.6 billion in additional budgeted expenditures is due to better reporting of IT already being spent, Forman said. The budget includes $37 billion to support agency programs and missions, $21 billion for office networks and infrastructure, and $1 billion to enhance enterprise architecture.

E-government is a priority in the budget, as tens of millions of Americans now use the Internet as their primary means of contacting the government. The Bush Administration has made a priority that citizens be able to conveniently reach any online government service in no more than three clicks.

Linux will play a significant role in government IT, Forman said.

"We believe there are larger cost reduction opportunities in Linux. We make extensive use of Linux in federal agencies, and we believe we can leverage that competition to achieve some of our cost reduction goals," Forman said.

This article originally appeared in Bank Systems & Technology eNEWS,a weekly e-mail newsletter. To order a free subscription, click

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