Commerce asks for more IT funds

Department of Commerce

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The Commerce Department will see a more than 10 percent increase in technology spending to $1.56 billion, under the Bush administration's proposed fiscal 2005 budget.

"The President realizes that technology is central to both our economic security and our homeland security," said Under Secretary of Technology Phillip Bond. "Given the President's efforts to hold the line on nondefense funding, this budget request represents a significant investment in our science and technology infrastructure that would enable us to both win the war on terror and remain competitive around the world."

According to the plan, the Technology Administration would receive nearly $530 million, a hike of 5 percent from this year. Of that, a bulk of the proposed money, or $522 million, would go to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, mostly for scientific and technical research services. NIST's budget is also a 5 percent increase from this year's level.

The plan would also propose $24.6 million for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, of which $7.12 million would be earmarked for initiatives supporting spectrum efficiency, international spectrum planning and telecommunications research. Such research would include improving spectrum management, interference, noise and upgrades at vital telecommunications research facilities.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration would get a $10.7 million increase for sustained ocean observation systems, new technology enabling the agency to document the ocean's climate role. Funding would also accelerate deployment of moored and free-drifting climate data buoys. NOAA officials also requested $25.5 million for their Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite program for spotting atmospheric triggers that can result in severe weather.

Overall, the Commerce Department requested a $5.8 billion budget for next year.

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