OMB: Budget reflects improvement in IT management practices

OMB: Budget reflects improvement in IT management practices

After four years of hard selling the tenets of sound IT management, Office of Management and Budget officials point to the president's fiscal 2006 budget proposal as the best example that the processes are taking hold.

'We are starting to see the fruits of our labor,' said Karen Evans, OMB administrator for IT and e-government. 'We've been asking agencies to tell us how they are becoming more efficient and, to their credit, they have demonstrated the effectiveness of their IT programs and the metrics by which they measured it.'

IT spending is slated to jump by 7.1 percent next year and is up by more than $20 billion since President Bush took office in 2001. In the $2.5 trillion proposal he sent to Congress yesterday, the president allotted $65.1 billion to IT.

But in a budget briefing today, Evans pointed to a 1 percent drop in the request for infrastructure, office automation and telecommunications spending in 2006 as an example of better IT management practices.

'We've realized some efficiencies, and we are starting to see agencies use this money for mission areas,' she said. 'Agencies were a little nervous when OMB asked them to do this.'

OMB noted that agencies would spend $19.3 billion on mission support IT services, up from $17.2 billion for this year. More than $2 billion of that would be new money for systems. Office automation funding would increase by $300 million for new projects and $400 million for existing systems.

Agency spending on enterprise architecture also would rise to $701 million, from $622 million for this year.

Evans also said the reduced requests for funding in two of the three Lines of Business Consolidation initiatives that are farthest along are proof of IT efficiencies. She said requests for human resources and grants systems dropped by $38 million and $6 million, respectively.

Agencies requested $54 million more for the Financial Management LOB, but Evans attributed the rise to the infrastructure needs of the four agencies that will be shared-service providers. They must upgrade their systems to offer services to the rest of government, she said.

The administration will continue to be tough on security, Evans said. OMB will require that all agencies certify and accredit the security of their systems or explain to the administration why it cannot before spending money on new ones or enhancing existing applications. For this year, the rule applied to only 18 agencies.

OMB estimates that 77 percent of all agencies had certified and accredited at least 90 percent of their systems. It will report on the state of federal IT security in its annual report to Congress March 1.

Evans said agencies would spend about $1.7 billion on cybersecurity next year, up 7.2 percent from this fiscal year.

The departments of Homeland Security and Justice would increase their IT security spending the most, by $38.5 million and $43.7 million, respectively. The Health and Human Services and Labor departments, and the Social Security Administration are the only agencies that expect to see a drop in IT security spending.

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