A 2011 budget proposal put forward by President Barack Obama provides only a slight increase for IT spending and encourages Federal agencies to consolidate and centralize IT operations.

The budget, which was released Monday, sets Federal IT spending at $79.4 billion, a 1.2% increase over the previous year.

A key platform in the White House’s plan to curb costs is a strategy to reduce the number of Federal data centers. The Office of Management and Budget document notes that the number of Federal data centers more than doubled from 432 in 1998 to 1,100 last year.

The budget does not set out a clear timeline for the consolidation initiative or a data center goal, but indicates that a strategy is being devised.

The budget also reiterates the administration’s goal to inject private sector best practices into Federal IT operations and to make wider use of such technologies as cloud computing.

“The Federal Government spends tens of billions of dollars on information technology [IT], but fragmentation, poor project execution, and the drag of legacy technology has not delivered the productivity and performance gains to government that are found when IT is deployed effectively in the private sector,” the budget document states.

“Under the leadership of the Federal Chief Information Officer, the Administration is continuing its efforts to close the gap in effective technology use between the private and public sectors.”

Among the specific steps outlines is a strategy to continue to roll out “less intensive and less expensive” cloud computing technologies, and a plan to work with agencies to reduce the time and effort required to acquire IT. The document also states the Administration will work to improve the alignment of technology acquisitions with agency needs and hold IT providers accountable for their performance.

Among other highlights of the budget, the funding includes a 30% increase to the budget of the Federal Aviation Administration for a next-generation air traffic control system, and $364 million earmarked for the Department of Homeland Security’s National Cyber Security Division.




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