Bush wants fast start on e-gov

Office of Management and Budget

The desire to move quickly on privacy and security issues prompted President Bush to double his budget request for the first year of the central fund for cross-agency electronic government initiatives, an administration official said Thursday.

In the blueprint budget released Feb. 28, Bush requested $10 million for the first year of the $100 million e-gov fund. But last week, Sean O'Keefe, deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, announced that the fiscal 2002 request would increase to $20 million in the budget to be released April 9.

"The doubling is indicative that he wants to move quicker, even sooner," OMB spokesman Chris Ullman said Thursday.

As outlined in the blueprint, the fund will be housed at the General Services Administration and managed by OMB. It is to be used for initiatives that are performed across agencies and can be used by anyone in government, such as the CIO Council's Federal Public Key Infrastructure effort to provide security for electronic transactions.

That PKI initiative is under way and should be available for use in the next few months.

However, many other privacy and security issues must be solved for agencies' e-gov efforts to move forward, and the extra money in the first year ensures "that we'll be able to address them in even a more expeditious fashion," Ullman said.

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