2006 budget guidance to come early

The Office of Management and Budget plans to release guidance for fiscal 2006 budgeting much earlier, a senior administration official said.

Norman Lorentz, OMB's outgoing chief technology officer and acting administrator for e-government and IT, said he was 'less than happy' about how long it took to bring out the guidance, known as OMB Circular A-11.

'It must be earlier in the year and include more information than we did this year,' he told an enterprise architecture conference sponsored by E-Gov earlier this week. 'We will move the 2006 engagement up so the information is there. Having a chief architect in place will help make sure the federal enterprise architecture approach is integrated with the budget.'

OMB released its final guidance for fiscal 2005 in July, and agency budget submissions were due Sept. 8. That gave CIOs and budget analysts only about two months to construct and edit their business cases, said Scott Bernard, a Syracuse University professor who worked last spring as an independent consultant to five agencies in preparing their budget requests.

'OMB had about 85 percent to 90 percent of the guidance out in April, but it was tough to wait for the final 10 percent to 15 percent,' said Bernard, who now works for DigitalNet Inc. of Herndon, Va. 'Enough had changed that a lot of retraining needed to be done. OMB really couldn't have waited any longer to release the guidance.'

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