President's budget details administration's push for results

President's budget details administration's push for results

In the fiscal 2006 budget proposal President Bush sent to Congress today, the Office of Management and Budget placed 31 percent of business cases on its Management Watch List compared to 55 percent for this fiscal year.

The request noted that OMB had identified 342 IT business cases out of 1,087 as lacking in one of three areas: assuring security; meeting cost, schedule and performance goals; or establishing performance measures.

The 342 programs are worth $15 billion, down $7 billion from last year. Last year, OMB said 621 IT projects made the watch list out of 1,130 projects.

Agencies improved their business cases across the board. Seventeen out of 25 agencies had all their business cases approved, OMB said. And those with problematic programs mitigated the risks, the budget documents said. The Defense Department, for instance, fixed 106 out of 107 projects on the at-risk list last year, OMB noted.

The improvements in business cases are a part of an overall administration focus on performance and results. The budget request calls for cutting funding for 150 programs.

'We will consolidate programs that are not performing like they should and [reduce funding for] programs that have not shown up well,' OMB director Josh Bolten said today during a budget briefing in Washington. 'We are optimistic about Congress considering these proposals and that they will attract interest on both sides of the aisle.'

Overall, Bush requested $2.57 trillion, which includes a 2.1 percent increase in discretionary spending, or $840.3 billion, mostly for Defense Department and homeland security programs. In fact, all other discretionary spending would drop by almost 1 percent, Bolten said.

'This is the first reduction in nonsecurity discretionary spending since the Reagan administration,' he said. 'We are projecting a 4 percent to 5 percent growth in Defense and homeland security spending over the next five years.'

This is the second year in a row the administration requested 1 percent or less for discretionary spending other than in the Defense and homeland security areas. Bolten said Congress initially balked last year but in the end approved the small increase.

The IT budget, which would increase by 7.1 percent to $65.1 billion, was one of the big winners across government.

The president's budget noted that agencies' performance managing IT projects has improved. Only 16 of the 1,087 projects identified were rated as unacceptable, down from 54 for this year. But those 16 projects are estimated to be worth $1.5 billion, while the 54 for 2005 have a value of $388 million less, or $1.1 billion.

The budget also outlines plans for a new cybersecurity Line of Business consolidation project. The administration noted that it will 'analyze commonly used IT security processes and controls in an effort to identify the extent to which consolidation opportunities exist.'

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