Next year's budget focuses on security

10 percent of IT spending would go to shoring up systems

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If President Bush's 2009 budget request reflects his priorities, securing the government's information technology systems appears to have his attention.

The administration's $3.1 trillion budget proposal sent to Congress earlier this month calls for a 3.8 percent overall increase in agency IT spending, totaling $70.9 billion for fiscal 2009.

That's up from the $68.3 billion Congress appropriated in 2008 ' and 6.3 percent more than the $66.4 billion the White House asked for going into 2008.

However, a breakout of IT security spending plans released by the Office of Management and Budget showed that if the plans are approved, $103 out of every $1,000 requested for IT spending next fiscal year ' or about $7.3 billion in total ' would be devoted to improving IT security.

That is 9.8 percent more than what was slated for fiscal 2008 and 73 percent more than the $4.2 billion budgeted for cybersecurity in fiscal 2004.

Among other details, OMB figures showed that of the $70.9 billion in proposed IT spending plans for fiscal 2009, 35 percent would finance development, modernization and enhancement projects.

The balance would maintain ongoing or steady-state projects.

Collectively, 44 percent of the proposed IT investment dollars would support national security systems, 30 percent would support agency mission initiatives, 19 percent would go toward infrastructure, office automation and telecommunications, and the balance would go toward state, local and other government IT programs in the form of grants.

As usual, the IT needs of some agencies prevailed over others. Among agencies with billion-dollar-plus IT budgets, the administration endorsed year-over-year IT investment increases of 27 percent for the Commerce Department, 18 percent for the Veterans Affairs Department and 12 percent for the State Department.

The Defense and Homeland Security departments will have to move forward with only modestly more funds.

This year, DOD's proposed IT budget is growing only 2.3 percent ' or about $743 million ' to $33.3 billion. And DHS' budget is increasing less than 1 percent, to $5.4 billion.

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About the Author

Wyatt Kash served as chief editor of GCN (October 2004 to August 2010) and also of Defense Systems (January 2009 to August 2010). He currently serves as Content Director and Editor at Large of 1105 Media.

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