White House proposes 3.8 percent boost in '09 IT spending

For most federal information technology departments, 'doing more with less' seems like the annual refrain around budget season. The White House's proposed IT spending plans for fiscal 2009, however, reflected at least some sense that doing more will actually require more.

Details in the administration's $3.1 trillion budget proposal to Congress released Feb. 4 included a 3.8 percent increase in agency IT spending, totaling $70.9 billion for fiscal 2009. That compares to $68.3 billion Congress actually appropriated in 2008 ' and is 6.3 percent more than the $66.4 billion the White House asked for going into 2008. Click here for a GCN table ranking IT spending requests by agency, and percentages of change, for fiscal 2009 compared to what was enacted in fiscal 2008.

As usual, the IT needs of some agencies prevailed more than those of some others. Among civilian agencies with billion-dollar-plus IT budgets, the administration endorsed the Commerce Department's request for a 26.6 percent increase, the Veterans Affairs Department request for a 17.8 percent increase and the State Department's request for a 12 percent increase in IT spending in 2009 over what was appropriated this year.

The Defense and Homeland Security departments will have to move forward with only modestly more funds. In the past both departments were able to secure hundreds of millions of additional dollars to tackle a variety of consolidation and other technology initiatives. This year, DOD's proposed IT budget is growing only 2.3 percent ' or about $743 million ' to $33.3 billion. And DHS' budget is increasing less than 1 percent, to $5.4 billion.

Among smaller agencies, the Department of Housing and Urban Development Department, U.S. Agency for International Development, the National Science Foundation and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission earned approval for sizeable jumps in IT spending. Among agencies suffering cutbacks in proposed IT spending are NASA ' trimmed 4.8 percent ' and the Army Corps of Engineers, whose IT budget was cut by more than one-third.

For additional reporting on the administration's budget proposal, see GCN affiliate site, FCW.com.

About the Author

Wyatt Kash served as chief editor of GCN (October 2004 to August 2010) and also of Defense Systems (January 2009 to August 2010). He currently serves as Content Director and Editor at Large of 1105 Media.

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