White House wants more IT security funds for FAA

The Bush administration is urging Congress to appropriate more funds for the Federal Aviation Administration's information security projects, claiming that legislation being debated on the Senate floor would leave the agency short of the needed funding.

In a Statement of Administration Policy, the Office of Management and Budget said the Transportation, Treasury, Judiciary, Housing and Urban Development and related agencies appropriations bill FY 2006, H.R. 3058, leaves the FAA $4 million short of the funding needed for IT security programs.

This shortfall not only affects security but also means the FAA may have trouble meeting the goals outlined in the President's Management Agenda, the administration's initiative to improve government efficiency, OMB added.

'The bill ' provides only $8 million for FAA information security, which is $4 million below the required funding level for this important program,' OMB said.

Information security at FAA's air traffic control centers has come under fire from the Transportation Department's inspector general as well as the Government Accountability Office. In recent reports, both offices said FAA's air traffic control units are vulnerable to cyberattack.

The administration also objects to a provision in the appropriations bill that it claims limits the use of competitive sourcing'a competition between the public and private sector workers for commercial government jobs. The language states that no funds in the bill will be available to contractors for agency activities or functions performed by more than 10 federal employees.

The White House claims this limitation 'would weaken competitive sourcing as a management tool to achieve the best overall value for the taxpayer.'

If the language is not changed during the floor debate, the administration threatened once again to veto the bill, although to date the White House has not vetoed appropriations legislation.

Studies of competitive sourcing over that past two years indicate that federal employees have won 90 percent of all competitions, the administration added, despite widespread fears that these policies would result in significant job losses.

Additionally, the White House said it opposes any efforts to reverse competitions that have already occurred, such as FAA's $1.9 billion contract with Lockheed Martin Corp. for certain flight services, signed in February.

'If the final version of the bill contains a provision to prohibit implementation of the FAA competition of flight service station operations, the president's senior advisor would recommend he veto the bill,' the administration said.

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