Stimulus bills have millions for State's IT

The House and the Senate versions of the $820 billion total economic stimulus package each would spend hundreds of millions for information technology-related projects at the State Department.

In both measures the IT spending would increase State's capital investment fund; the House bill would provide a total of $276 million in additional funding there; and the Senate measure would raise total spending by $524 million.

In specific areas, the bill the House passed Jan. 28 would provide up to $120 million for building a backup information management facility for State’s IT operations, and a version of the spending package approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee has the same funding level.

Both measures would also provide about $98.5 million for State’s portion in the government’s Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative. That multiyear, multibillion-dollar program began in January 2008 and includes cybersecurity responsibilities for agencies and departments across the government.

The measure the full Senate will consider would also make available more than $305 million for immediate upgrades to State's information technology platforms, according to the Senate Appropriations Committee’s report on the bill. The House bill does not specifically provide for this area.

Although both versions would require State to submit a detailed plan to congressional appropriators for how the money will be spent, the Senate measure also directs State and the United States Agency for International Development to work to coordinate information technology systems to increase efficiency. 

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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