Feds Spend More On IT In '08, Expect More Problems

Proposal increases IT spending by 2.6% even though 40% of projects are on watch list

Evans has her eye on high-risk projects

Evans has her eye on high-risk projects
The federal government is ready to increase spending on IT next year by only 2.6%, even though more than 40% of its major projects need improvement or are at risk.

The plan is to spend $65.5 billion on IT in fiscal 2008, with emphasis on priorities such as health IT and tech security, officials at the Office of Management and Budget said last week. The Department of Health and Human Services, which is leading the effort to build an interoperable health information network, is slated to see its IT budget increase 15%.

OMB officials also said 346 of 840 major IT projects included in the budget are on a watch list for mission-critical projects in need of improvement in performance, management, or security. And 84 projects are on a high-risk list, because they are in jeopardy of failing, are high cost, or are highly complex, says Karen Evans, OMB's administrator of e-government and IT. They "need extra care and feeding," she says.

The 2008 budget also includes a boost for tech development, with an 11% increase in funding for core research and facilities at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The proposal includes funding for NIST research on carbon nanotubes, among other IT-related efforts.

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