Security big winner in DOE budget proposal

Information technology, especially anything security related, is well funded in President Bush's fiscal 2002 budget request for the Energy Department.

But this should be money well-spent coming off a year when DOE made headlines for the disappearance — and subsequent recovery — of two computer hard drives containing nuclear secrets, as well as other security problems.

The overall DOE budget request is below last year's funding level, but the agency's IT budget is up nearly 1.7 percent, due in part to the fact that the chief information officer's office is "linked organizationally to security and emergency operations," said Howard Landon, DOE's acting CIO.

Cybersecurity was the biggest winner in the budget battle with a whopping 43 percent increase from 2001 funding of $76.9 million to this year's request for $109.7 million, he said. That money will be used for initiatives at DOE headquarters, as well as for field activities, including direct upgrades, training, and research and development programs.

"This is a really good thing for the CIO's cybersecurity initiative," Landon said. "We've been making enhancements since the summer of 1999, and the path we took was the right one. Now we have [the] funding to continue down that path and enhance it a little bit."

The department's Safeguards and Security (S&S) program, its Office of Science Program Direction and its Technical Information Management (TIM) program also remain well-funded, said James Decker, acting director of DOE's Office of Science, during a House Science Committee's Energy Subcommittee hearing last month. Six DOE offices fall under the committee's jurisdiction — including the Office of Science and the Office of Nuclear Energy, Science and Technology.

The S&S program received more than $36 million in fiscal 2001, but this year's request is for $50.5 million and will focus on limiting vulnerabilities listed by inspector general and General Accounting Office audits, Decker said.

"In fiscal 2002, S&S funding includes countermeasures for the ever-increasing advances in, and reliance on, computer technologies," he said. "This request also supports the upgrading of aging physical security systems."

From an operational standpoint, program support for security is up 13 percent, Landon said. "There's an awareness that what's going on is complex with cyber-security, Clinger-Cohen [Act] requirements, information architecture, capital planning and investment, and there's good funding in those areas. We could always do more with more money, but we're happy with the reasonable increase."

DOE's Science Program Direction is seeking $15 million more than its previous funding level of nearly $127 million. The office supports three subprograms: program direction, field operations and science education, Decker said. Sustaining the scientific and technical workforce, and an expanded partnership with the National Science Foundation to attract more undergraduate students to DOE-related jobs, are among the proj-ects that will move forward through this request.

The fiscal 2002 request for $9 million is a $300,000 increase over the previous appropriation for TIM, but Decker was confident that it was enough to reach the program's goal of making "DOE's scientific and technical journal citations, technical reports and preprints searchable and retrievable through e-government systems."

The proposed DOE budget also includes $20 million for the agency's Corporate Management Information Program, which is pegged to integrate the department's information management resources and initiatives. Funding for that initiative has been "stagnant" at $12 million for the last few years, but the boost in funds will help modernize procurement systems, Landon said.

The effort began by finding ways to deploy commercial off-the-shelf solutions in human resources and financials, and now that is being expanded, along with infrastructure improvements to facilitate progress, said Michael Tiemann, acting associate CIO for architecture standards and planning at DOE.

"We're looking at that $20 million to increase to $40 million over the next few years as part of a planned approach," Tiemann said. "First, for procurement modernization, we're currently in the strategic information management review to develop the business case," which includes everything from projections on return on investment to cost/benefit analyses to technology options. "We have the money to start that investment," he said. nRunning the DOE numbers President Bush's fiscal 2002 budget proposal would give IT its smallest increase in years, with a less than 1 percent overall increase from the 2001 budget. The Department of Energy, however, fared slightly better, gaining 1.7 percent in IT funds.

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2000 20012002
Funding*$1.1 $1.13$1.15
Source: Office of Management and Budget
*Numbers are in billions and are rounded.

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