Commerce seeks $1.68B IT budget

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Information technology spending for Commerce Department programs would rise almost 7 percent under President Bush’s fiscal 2007 proposed budget.

Under that spending plan, the department would get $1.68 billion for IT expenditures, about $11 million more than it has budgeted for fiscal 2006.

Overall, Commerce's proposed discretionary budget is $6.14 billion, 4.2 percent less than the $6.41 billion budget for fiscal 2006.

Despite proposed cuts in the overall Commerce budget, the Census Bureau will get an increase to prepare for the Decennial Census. Officials have requested $878 million for fiscal 2007, a 9.6 percent increase from this year’s $801 million budget.

Bush administration officials have proposed nearly $150 million, which includes a $60 million increase, to develop an IT architecture for the Decennial Census. The budget request includes $74 million to modernize the Master Address File/Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing (TIGER) Accuracy Improvement Project.

Other Commerce agencies wouldn't fare as well.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s budget would fall from $3.85 billion this year to a proposed $3.68 billion, a 4.4 percent decrease. But NOAA officials said the agency’s $230 million climate program would have a net increase.

“Policy makers and business leaders are increasingly dependent on climate information to manage water resources, agriculture, energy use and human health,” said Ret. Navy Vice Adm. Conrad Lautenbacher, NOAA’s administrator, in a written statement. “Significant climate events such as El Nino can cost the United States more than $25 billion per event," he said. "NOAA services have never been more important to the nation, and this budget request will provide increases to improve climate services as well as our other vital services.”

Within that program, the president has proposed about $68 million for continued IT support for a converged civil and military polar-orbiting operational meteorological satellite system to monitor, collect and disseminate global environmental data.

The Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System, a nationwide interactive communications system for integrating all meteorological, hydrologic, satellite and weather radar data for more accurate and timely forecasts and warnings, would get a proposed $50 million.

The president's budget proposed $8.5 million for the Next Generation Weather Radar (NEXRAD) system improvement. NEXRAD would use radar meteorology to enhance the nation’s weather radar network.

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