RealTime IT News

Third Straight Increase: Fed's IT Security Spending

For the third consecutive year, the Bush Administration anticipates significant budget increases for cyber security. Mark Forman, the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) associate director for IT and e-government, told attendees at the Oracle AppsWorld Conference in San Diego that the administration would ask Congress for $4.9 billion in homeland security IT funding.

Last year's budget called for $4.7 billion in IT security spending while 2002 spending on cyber security was $2.7 billion.

Overall, according to Forman, the administration's IT budget for 2004 is $59 billion, a 13 percent bump from the 2003 budget. The budget is scheduled for a Feb. 3 release to Congress. Last week, OMB Director Mitchell E. Davis said with the exception of military and IT security spending, the overall budget will only moderately increase from 2003.

"Last year was the first year we put in place rigorous budget reporting requirements," Forman said. "Capital planning is a critical element of that and we also took action to strengthen the roles of CIOs at the departments of Energy and Veterans Affairs, so we got better reporting."

Forman also said the administration is looking to save money by consolidating core line-of-business applications, such as financial management; integrating related applications; purchasing enterprise-wide licenses for software; and eliminating redundant automation, such as federal Web sites with overlapping services.

In the area of consolidation, Forman pointed to last week's announcement that the federal government is combining its payroll processes. The government currently has 22 different payroll processes and averages $77 per government employee for paychecks. Forman said the private sector average is $39. He added that the government hopes to save more than $1 billion on the consolidated payroll project.

Other areas targeted for consolidation, with hopes of saving $100 million in redundancies, include public health information and monitoring and criminal investigations.