Bush backs boost for cybersecurity

President Bush's proposed budget for fiscal 2006 would spend 7 percent more on information technology security year-over-year and add cybersecurity to the stable of cross-agency lines of business.

The budget request calls for a 7.2 percent increase in IT security spending for the coming year to $1.685 billion, up from the $1.572 billion congressional appropriations approved for fiscal 2005. The greatest change, in percentage and absolute terms, occurs in the Justice Department. Officials from that Cabinet agency want about $254.6 million in fiscal 2006, or 20.7 percent more than the $210.9 million approved for this fiscal year.

Cybersecurity and information sharing are the two new cross-agency lines of business, according to a recent presentation from the Office of Management and Budget.

OMB officials postulate that consolidation of common cybersecurity processes, services and technologies could improve government performance while driving down costs.

Their decision to add two lines of business brings the number of such efforts to seven. The original five cost-saving efforts were launched in March 2004 as a way of consolidating federal agencies' back-office functions by creating cross-agency service centers and implementing common IT architectures.

Of the existing lines of business, federal health architecture has so far been the most expensive in terms of development, modernization or enhancement funds spent and requested. Officials managing that line of business are spending $1.6 billion during fiscal 2005, and are requesting $1.9 billion for fiscal 2006. The initial target architecture for management of government health information is due by the end of fiscal 2005.

Officials for the financial management line of business have spent or are requesting less than half the health architecture effort. Fiscal 2005 spending amounts to $612 million; the fiscal 2006 request is for $666 million. As part of the fiscal 2006 budget request, federal officials selected four agencies to provide cross-agency financial service management. Agencies may begin shutting off their own financial systems this fiscal year.

The human resources management line of business is responsible for $202 million in expenses this fiscal year and expects to spend $164 million in fiscal 2006. Federal officials publicly named today cross-agency service providers for this line.

Officials for the case management line of business are spending $120 million this year and want to spend $152 million in fiscal 2006.

About the Author

David Perera is a special contributor to Defense Systems.

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