Budget

Sequestration gummed up IT plans

Budget cuts required under sequestration caused a majority of the agencies examined by the Government Accountability Office to trim spending on IT projects or renegotiate contracts.

"Most agencies reported that they adjusted the scope of contracts or delayed contracts as a result of sequestration," a May 28 GAO report states. "The most common types of contracts affected were for program management and support services (19 agencies) and information technology (18 agencies)."

Only the Defense Department, Environmental Protection Agency, National Science Foundation and Social Security Administration reported not having to rescope IT contracts.

For example, Customs and Border Protection was able to avoid employee furloughs in part because officials sliced $7 million out of the Border Security Fencing, Infrastructure and Technology account. The Energy Department reported delaying or reshaping some of its IT contracts, as well as trimming spending on the development of new energy technologies. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services cut $15 million from its IT budget, a move that delayed several system enhancements, according to GAO.

Sequestration also took a bite out of the National Institute of Standards and Technology's overall funding, which was cut by $37.8 million.

"NIST officials said that reprogramming actions mitigated the effects of this reduction on core laboratory, standards coordination and special programs in part by reprogramming $20 million from a portion of the funds appropriated to create interdisciplinary Centers of Excellence and the Innovations in Measurement Science grant program," GAO reported.

About the Author

Reid Davenport is an FCW editorial fellow. Connect with him on Twitter: @ReidDavenport.

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Reader comments

Thu, May 29, 2014

EPA chose instead to furlough it's employees for 7 days, holding it's contracts sacred. The contractors even received the COLAs negotiated in the contracts while the EPA budget took real cuts and Federal employee salaries were frozen.

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