Budget

Hodgkins: 'No more three-week funding cycles'

Trey Hodgkins

Lobbyist Trey Hodgkins says the fiscal 2015 spending plan sets the stage for further advances in IT implementation and procurement.

IT budget numbers are flat for civilian agencies and lower for Defense, the Senate won’t write a budget again this year, and nobody expects the president’s proposal to get a serious hearing in Congress, but an acquisition industry expert is happy that at least something resembling a budget process is going on.

The release of President Barack Obama's fiscal 2015 budget – albeit a month late and piecemeal --  continues a developing period of relative stability for a budget and appropriations process that has generally been dysfunctional for the better part of a decade, contends Trey Hodgkins, senior vice president, public sector at the Information Technology Alliance for Public Sector.

"This is a steady state in the face of the past 10 years of budget disputes, continuing resolutions and government shutdowns. There are no more three-week funding cycles" for federal IT projects," Hodgkins said.

Overall, Hodgkins sees Obama's budget as favorable to the federal IT environment, and says it could set the stage for further advances in implementation and procurement. He noted there were common threads running through the 1,200 page blueprint aimed at "doubling down" on cloud computing capabilities and data center consolidation.

"There's nothing there that's divergent from the path the federal government is taking to become an information-based entity," he said, better prepared for the 21st century.

Federal CIO Steve VanRoekel said in a March 4 conference call that the $1.014 trillion discretionary funding request includes slightly more than $79 billion in federal IT spending, down from the $81.4 billion enacted for 2014. The president requested $35.4 billion on the defense side, down from $37.6 billion last fiscal year. Civilian IT spending would tick up to $43.7 billion. VanRoekel attributed the slight dip in military IT to savings from initiatives such as data center consolidation.

According to Hodgkins, the changes can be seen as a more realistic look at IT acquisition in which HealthCare.gov is something of a guide. The troubled release of the website in 2014, he said, illustrated that government needed to better understand project management, focus on a more educated workforce and pay more attention to how competition can drive technological innovation.

Proposals for increased training for senior and mid-level managers included in the budget are key in sustaining a knowledgeable federal acquisition workforce, according to Hodgkins, but "there is, however, no silver bullet." The issues involved in complex acquisition processes "can't be unwound easily. I applaud the willingness to be thoughtful."

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a staff writer at FCW.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


The Fed 100

Read the profiles of all this year's winners.

Featured

  • Shutterstock image (by wk1003mike): cloud system fracture.

    Does the IRS have a cloud strategy?

    Congress and watchdog agencies have dinged the IRS for lacking an enterprise cloud strategy seven years after it became the official policy of the U.S. government.

  • Shutterstock image: illuminated connections between devices.

    Who won what in EIS

    The General Services Administration posted detailed data on how the $50 billion Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions contract might be divvied up.

  • Wikimedia Image: U.S. Cyber Command logo.

    Trump elevates CyberCom to combatant command status

    The White House announced a long-planned move to elevate Cyber Command to the status of a full combatant command.

  • Photo credit: John Roman Images / Shutterstock.com

    Verizon plans FirstNet rival

    Verizon says it will carve a dedicated network out of its extensive national 4G LTE network for first responders, in competition with FirstNet.

  • AI concept art

    Can AI tools replace feds?

    The Heritage Foundation is recommending that hundreds of thousands of federal jobs be replaced by automation as part of a larger government reorganization strategy.

  • DOD Common Access Cards

    DOD pushes toward CAC replacement

    Defense officials hope the Common Access Card's days are numbered as they continue to test new identity management solutions.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group