NASA IT funding goals keep falling

National Aeronautic and Space Administration

Though governmentwide spending on information technology increased slightly with President Bush's fiscal 2005 budget, NASA's IT budget is headed downward for the third consecutive year.

Under the president's request, NASA would receive $1.9 billion in IT funds for fiscal 2005, down from $2.06 billion in fiscal 2004 and $2.14 billion in fiscal 2003.

The projected budgets for NASA's major IT programs paralleled this decline, as several projects would receive less money in fiscal 2005 compared to fiscal 2004 levels.

The agency's IT budget is dominated by the Integrated Information Infrastructure program, which includes office automation, IT infrastructure and telecommunications projects. In the request, $510.9 million is set aside for the wide-reaching program, though that number is down from its fiscal 2004 level of $515.4 million.

Another high-dollar technology program is the Earth Observing System's Data and Information System. This comprehensive data and information system could receive $226.2 million in fiscal 2005, lower than the $240.2 million it received in fiscal 2004.

Likewise, NASA's Integrated Financial Management program suffered a significant drop in funding, falling from $112.7 million in fiscal 2004 to $85.7 million in fiscal 2005.

Overall, Bush requested $16.2 billion for agency operations. That amount must support nine major field centers, more than 60 operational spacecraft, the International Space Station laboratory and three space shuttle vehicles.

Bush's aggressive space agenda places a large emphasis on expanding space exploration programs. His goals will lead to an increase of $12 billion in funding for exploration over the next five years.

Though the president's fiscal 2005 request includes an additional $1 billion in funding for space exploration, the remaining $11 billion to fund exploration will come from the reallocation of funds currently within NASA's five-year budget plan.

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