Interior aims for modernization

Interior Department fiscal 2006 budget in brief

Needing to modernize their systems and practices, Interior Department officials are slated to receive a 2.7 percent increase in information technology spending according to President Bush's fiscal 2006 spending plan.

That means about $23 million more, from $859 million to $882 million, in IT spending across the department, which is taking significant steps to centralize and standardize network operations and develop consistent business practices, according to the budget document.

Department officials have requested $14 million for enterprise architecture efforts in 2006 to continue work they began last year. In 2004, the department's Investment Review Board identified about 100 systems across the financial management, recreation, wildland fire and law enforcement lines of business that will be retired in the next three years.

Interior officials are also continuing to deploy the Enterprise Services Network, which will provide secure Internet and intranet connections and a fully functional operational center for data communications for all agencies. Phase I, which will be completed in December 2005, will reduce the department's 13 wide-area networks to one and 33 Internet access points to five. Phase II, which will begin in 2005, will expand secure connections to about 150 sites primarily in large cities.

The budget includes a $9.4 million increase to a total of $23.56 million for continued deployment of the Financial and Business Management System (FBMS), which will provide improved efficiency, better access to financial and management data, and better integration of financial, procurement, property and other systems.

About $12.8 million will support departmentwide activities in certifying and accrediting information systems, remediating identified risks, and creating processes to ensure the continued security of the systems.

The proposed budget also includes $6.1 million for planning, development and migration costs of governmentwide e-government solutions, such as the Recreation One-Stop, Geospatial One-Stop, e-Payroll and e-Authentication initiatives.

Across the department, component agencies have also requested some IT spending increases for specific projects. For example, officials at the Office of the Solicitor are requesting a $1.2 million increase for two additional positions for IT security and customer support, recurring operating expenses, smart card implementation, an electronic recordkeeping system, and software upgrades.

Minerals and Management Service officials are asking for $1.2 million to begin planning for an electronic records management system slated for implementation by 2008.

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