Chunk Of 2009 Federal IT Budget Going To Cybersecurity

President Bush's $71 billion IT budget includes $7.3 billion for cybersecurity in the federal government's nearly 30 departments and agencies.

Marianne Kolbasuk McGee, Senior Writer, InformationWeek

February 7, 2008

2 Min Read

Cybersecurity related spending makes up a big slice of President Bush's proposed $71 billion IT budget for fiscal 2009.

Of the $71 billion federal IT budget proposed by Bush for fiscal 2009, about $7.3 billion, or more than 10%, is related to information security spending by the federal government's nearly 30 departments and agencies.

The focus on cybersecurity for fiscal 2009, which starts Oct. 1, follows a trend that's been set over the last few years. Federal spending on IT security has climbed 73% from $4.2 billion in fiscal 2004 to $7.3 billion proposed for fiscal 2009.

"Our message is that the IT budget supports the President's priorities," said Karen Evans, the federal government's CIO, during a press briefing with reporters on Thursday.

"This is not IT for the sake of IT itself, it's about results, advancing the President's priories," said Evans, whose official title is Office of Management and Budget administrator of e-government and information technology.

The IT spending planned for fiscal 2009 reflects Bush's focus on "the economy and a sound budget; the global war on terror; and protecting the homeland," said Evans.

Perhaps somewhat reflecting the spotlight that's been put on security, of the federal governments 810 major IT investments, 601 were deemed by the agencies or the Office of Management and Budget as "high risk," as of last Sept. 30.

Some of those 601 projects make up multiple investments or involve multiple agencies. Projects can be deemed high risk for a variety of reasons, including being high-cost, highly complex, or high profile, says Evans.

For instance, "the entire project portfolio of the Dept. of Veterans Affairs," which includes about 40 major IT projects, has been put on the high risk list, says Evans. That's due to a number of reasons, including an ongoing, major revamping of the VA's IT organization, as well as several highly publicized IT security breaches that have occurred over the last year or so.

Besides projects on the "high risk list," there are 585 projects -- that are valued at $27 billion -- on the "management watch list," although some of those have also been deemed high risk. The "management watch list" is based on evaluating projects on several dozen criteria, including various performance measures, project management and security.

Those projects "need extra care and feeding," says Evans. OMB and other departments with higher grades on their projects provide assistance to help the various agencies remediate those questionable projects.

At this time last year, the federal government had 840 major IT investments, of which only 84 were on the "high risk" list while 346 were on the "management watch list."

About the Author(s)

Marianne Kolbasuk McGee

Senior Writer, InformationWeek

Marianne Kolbasuk McGee is a former editor for InformationWeek.

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