Securing info systems could cost $28 billion, budget office says

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the E-Government Reauthorization Act could cost the government about $29 billion over a four-year period, mainly for securing agencies’ information systems.

The Office of Management and Budget said agencies spent about $5.5 billion in fiscal 2006 to meet the Federal Information Security Management Act, according to a CBO cost estimate report released today about the reauthorization legislation.

Continuing the same updates, FISMA requirements would consume $27.9 billion of the $29 billion that the legislation would cost the government between 2008 and 2012, which includes adjustments for anticipated inflation, according to CBO. It also estimates that continuing current activities and starting new programs authorized by bill would make up the remaining $1.1 billion.

But CBO believes agencies could save administrative costs through e-government as they collect information from the public and provide government services. CBO has no way to calculate how much, though, according to the report.

The bill would authorize money for programs that improve how the government deploys services and accesses information. It also would centralize many agencies’ Internet-related activities.

Specifically, it would authorize the General Services Administration’s E-Government Fund for interagency projects and the Office of Personnel Management’s IT personnel needs for the federal workforce. It would also authorize the National Institutes of Standards and Technology’s research related to information security.

The e-government authorization expired this year. The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee approved the reauthorization act Nov. 14, but there is no House companion bill.

CBO also released a cost estimate today for the Inspector General Reform Act, which the committee also approved Nov. 14.

CBO estimates the bill would cost the government $83 million to implement.

The reforms would make IG offices separate agencies, give them the same authority as the agencies they monitor and authorize them to submit their own annual budgets. Those provisions, among others, could cost about $53 million from 2008 to 2012, according to the report.

The bill would establish an IG council to discuss areas of weakness in the IG community and investigate fraud allegations against IGs. CBO estimates that setting up the council would cost $25 million.

Estimates for increasing salaries for IGs would cost $4 million, and semiannual reports to Congress would cost $1 million, according to CBO.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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