OMB: Cybersecurity first

With a push for agencies to secure existing systems before investing more dollars, the administration has outlined the information technology money available for security for 18 agencies.

Money that agencies planned to spend on development, modernization and enhancement should first go to IT security, Office of Management and Budget officials said today.

"Look at your IT portfolio. Look at your IT programs," said OMB Administrator for E-Government and IT Karen Evans. "How are you managing your department? What are your priorities? The priority of this administration is cyber security.... Don't lay money on top of what you already have. Secure what you have, and if you do it efficiently, you have money to spend in other areas."

For example, Treasury Department officials requested $594 million for IT development and modernization in fiscal 2005. However, they can't spend any of that money until their IT security meets federal standards.

Treasury officials have asked for $62 million in fiscal 2005 IT security spending.

"This doesn't mean though that the dollars are being spent on security," Evans said. "It's a potential spend."

According to Evans, eight agencies have sufficient cybersecurity plans, so potential security money was not detailed for them: the Defense, Commerce and Energy departments; NASA; the Environmental Protection Agency; the National Science Foundation; Nuclear Regulatory Commission; and the Office of Personnel Management.

"If you have a bad cybersecurity posture overall, we really want to look at what you're doing before you put out new projects," Evans said. "If they're on this list, they have an opportunity to improve their cybersecurity programs."

Overall, the listed 18 agencies requested $8.1 billion for development and modernization and $1.5 billion for IT security in fiscal 2005. Development dollars have decreased 5.7 percent from last year's $8.5 billion request while state funding has increased by only 3.5 percent, Evans said. This shows agencies are focused on consolidation. "We're starting to see tangible benefits and realize savings," she said.

OMB officials also detailed how much agencies were spending on development and modernization in the areas identified as common lines of the business. Four lines of business had been identified

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