Energy IT budget virtually unchanged

Department of Energy

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The Bush administration is requesting nearly $2.09 billion in information technology spending for the Energy Department in its fiscal 2007 budget.

But the IT spending in the proposed budget represents a less than 1 percent increase over the fiscal 2006 figure of $2.07 billion. Overall, department officials are requesting $23.6 billion for fiscal 2007, essentially the same amount appropriated in fiscal 2006.

The big Energy winner is the Office of Science, which requested $4.1 billion – or more than $500 million more than fiscal 2006 – to support basic scientific research. In his recent State of the Union address, Bush proposed the American Competitiveness Initiative, a strategy to double federal spending on science in the next decade in areas such as nanotechnology, material science, biotechnology and high-speed computing.

“One overriding factor that has really stimulated the enormous economic growth in our country has been the scientific research, particularly that in the physical sciences, that started in the ’50s and ’60s and continued on to the present time,” Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said at a Feb. 6 budget press conference regarding Bush’s initiative.

Under the proposed spending plan, the Office of the Chief Information Officer would get $108.8 million, a nearly 26 percent increase over the current year’s $86.6 million budget.

Of that $108.8 million, $38.1 million – or $13.6 million more than the fiscal 2006 level – would go toward cybersecurity, including inventory of agency information systems, incident management and compliance capability, authentication and other functions. However, funds for cybersecurity policy, planning and awareness, engineering and assessment, and training would be reduced.

Within the CIO’s requested amount, $47.7 million – or $8.6 million more than this year – would be earmarked for hardware and software costs, network and infrastructure upgrades, disaster recovery infrastructure and business continuity systems, e-mail and messaging, public-key infrastructure operations and other IT support functions.

Under the proposal, the National Nuclear Security Administration would get about $9.3 billion, which is about $211 million more than this year. That would be a 2.3 percent increase over fiscal 2006.

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