Peek at fiscal 2008 reveals homeland security focus

Offering glimpses into the fiscal 2008 budget, an Office of Management and Budget official said today President Bush’s requested information technology funding will continue to emphasize homeland security and governmentwide initiatives to save money.

Tim Young, associate administrator for e-government and IT at OMB, divulged few details because the fiscal 2008 budget will not be released until Feb. 5. But he said the dollar figures on homeland security spending will continue last year’s trend. He spoke today on the state of federal IT at the 2007 Government Performance Summit in Washington, D.C.

In fiscal 2007, about half of the $64 billion for IT funding was aimed at defense spending, with roughly $12 billion more intended for homeland security objectives. Not all the money, however, would have gone specifically to the Homeland Security Department.

Nevertheless, Congress passed only two fiscal 2007 appropriations bills, leaving most agencies under continuing resolutions. Young would not comment on that funding situation.

He said the upcoming budget will include the Management Watch List, a tally of each agency’s delinquent investments, and that the IT Infrastructure Line of Business would be the initiative to watch in 2008.

He estimated as much as $29 billion in savings over 10 years through consolidating and standardizing infrastructure, such as IT help desks and data and network centers.

“This line of business will be very, very cool to work on…over the course of the next year,” Young said.

That savings could free funds in a tough budget year to pay for an otherwise doomed program, he said. As agencies consolidate infrastructures, the SmartBuy governmentwide licensing program can get special deals on widely used software. OMB will announce in spring the additions to the SmartBuy program, he said, giving no additional details.

The administration continues its push for a core-mission focus instead of concentrating resources on back-office, administrative tasks. Lines of business allow agencies to pass their jobs to other agencies already doing the work well.

Agencies also had to give OMB an alternative cost analysis. They show the other options an agency had considered before making a final investment decision. OMB required the analyses with every capital investment. OMB is also using metrics to determine how much money was saved as a result of the decision. Young said the analyses will be available in the budget.

“Transparency breeds accountability; accountability breeds results,” he said.

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