OMB may freeze homeland projects

The Office of Management and Budget may freeze funds for information technology projects at agencies slated to join the proposed Homeland Security Department.

Officials aim to save money by identifying redundant plans for core IT systems and networks at the nearly two dozen agencies folding into the new department.

"If we do this smartly, this will create some savings through consolidations," Mark Forman, OMB's associate director for IT and e-government, told Federal Computer Week.

Officials expect to release an initial IT architecture framework for the department this week, along with guidance for the affected agencies, Forman said.

The consolidation outlined in the framework could save hundreds of millions of dollars, OMB Director Mitchell Daniels Jr., said at a July 12 press briefing.

The new department must have the best possible communications, and all of the pieces of the department need to be on one network, he said.

The Transportation Security Administration may find its key project jeopardized for other reasons. Funding for TSA's planned $1.4 billion IT infrastructure procurement is held up in Congress, which may force the agency to postpone the contract award, Daniels said.

"I am concerned," Forman said, because employees need at least a basic IT infrastructure to function.

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