Bush hopes to restrain IT increases

For the second straight year, President Bush hopes to keep federal IT spending almost flat.

The administration's proposal for information technology spending, about $59.8 billion, represents a 1 percent increase from $59.3 billion requested last year. And that fiscal 2004 request itself was a tiny year-over-year increase, compared to a gain of more than $7 billion in 2003.

With the release of the fiscal 2005 budget request today, the Bush administration called for further technology consolidation across agencies and a continued focus on security.

IT management has improved, according to the administration, but officials continue to push for crossagency initiatives and adoption of IT modernization blueprints to map investments.

Agencies still need to improve their business cases to demonstrate the value of the project and plans for security and management. Although business cases have improved since last year, 621 major projects representing $22 billion are on the Office of Management and Budget's at-risk list. More than 700 were designated as such in fiscal 2004.

"Agencies must remediate the shortfalls identified in their business cases or the administration will not support the expenditures until agencies have demonstrated their ability to address the weaknesses," the budget documents state.

Similarly, agencies have improved IT security during the last three years but still have a long way to go, according to the administration. Sixty-one percent of all IT systems were certified and accredited by the end of 2003, up from 47 percent in 2002. The administration's goal for the end of 2003 was 80 percent.

-- Diane Frank contributed to this report.

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