Daniels says IT spending will be protected

Daniels says IT spending will be protected

Office of Management and Budget director Mitchell E. Daniels Jr.

Office of Management and Budget director Mitchell E. Daniels Jr. said today that he will carefully scrutinize any funding requests for economic stimulus in light of recent terrorist attacks. But information technology spending is protected from that scrutiny, he said, speaking at the Washington Research Group's annual symposium in Washington.

'This year the federal government spends and misspends $49 billion on information technology,' Daniels said. The total will continue growing under the President's Management Agenda, which Daniels called 'the most ambitious management agenda' he's ever seen.

'We're now in a period of springtime for spenders,' he said. OMB has already started rejecting what he called 'immaterial critical needs' such as bridge expansions and new science laboratories in the country's schools.

Daniels said IT falls into a protected category of needs that have been waiting too long for updates. 'We have to try to rationalize systems spending in the federal government,' he said. 'The situation is not as bad as you think, it's much worse.'

Daniels, whom President Bush gave overall responsibility for governmentwide security policy and implementation this week, played down his new IT power. 'That only formalizes the role we already have' at OMB, he said. 'Mark Forman is the closest thing to a federal CIO.'

Forman, associate OMB director for IT and electronic government, oversees the interagency task force in charge of federal IT as well as the administration's $100 million e-gov fund.

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