Obama Cuts IT Spending, Touts Cloud and Data Consolidation

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February 14, 2012 – President Obama would cut overall federal IT spending in 2013, but increase backing of cybersecurity and tech research, and continue dedications for cloud computing and data center consolidations.

The budget unveiled Monday by the White House features $78.9 billion in federal IT spending, a 1.2 percent decrease from the budget enacted in 2012. Much of that decrease comes from more than $1 billion cut from the Department of Defense IT budget by way of data center consolidation, a centerpiece of the 25-point plan from the office of the federal CIO. IT spending across non-military agencies will go up from 2012 levels by about $459 million to $41.7 billion in 2013, according to proposed budget figures. Since 2009, IT spending has remained relatively flat, while the total budget presented by Obama grew to a historically high $3.8 trillion.

The budget details included a noted emphasis on cloud computing deployment by government agencies, with continued oversight and standards from its Federal Risk Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP). In the last three years, 40 federal agencies migrated services to cloud environments, with another 39 expected for migration this year. The White House budget touted its planned $3 billion in savings from more than 1,100 data center closures by 2015, and stated that a task force would continue to look at leveraging unused data capacity and best practices across government.

The government expects increased use of its TechStat investment and governance reviews, and an update to the schema and trend information in its IT Dashboard for real-time agency budgeting and spending. Also as part of its IT agenda, the budget noted that the administration will publish a mobile strategy aimed at cost-effective adoption of government mobile devices and tablets.

According to figures released by the Office of Science and Technology Policy, other stated IT increases and allocations in the proposed 2013 budget include:

  • $729 million, to the Department of Homeland Security, up 26.3 after deep cuts in 2012 levels, in part to advance cybersecurity research.
  • $708 million, an increase of 13.8 percent from 2012, for advanced manufacturing, cybersecurity and nanotechnology research at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. On top of that increase, there are additional NIST funds for research under the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Consortia program and for the development of a broadband network for first responders.
  • $2.2 billion for research into emerging technology related to advanced manufacturing process innovation, materials and robotics
  • $30.7 billion in discretionary appropriations for bioeconomy and biomedical research at the National Institute of Health.
  • $3 billion for education efforts with the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) program
  • Permanent extension and expansion of a Research and Experimentation Tax Credit for tech innovation developments.

In a statement with the science office’s summaries, Obama urged Congress to support these funding allocations that would support research that leads to innovation and job creation, and help the U.S. “win the race for the future.” GOP leaders criticized elements of deficits and overall spending in the proposed budget, though had not immediate announcements against these tech spending suggestions.

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