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President Seeks 10.3% Hike In Homeland Security IT Operations Budget

The IT spending increase will outpace that for the overall Homeland Security budget, but IT still represents less than 1% of department expenditures planned for 2006.

Spending on IT operations at the Department of Homeland Security will rise by 10.3%, to $303.7 million, in fiscal 2006, which begins Oct. 1, according to President Bush's budget plan released Monday.

The IT spending increase next year will outpace that for the overall Homeland Security budget, which will grow by 6.6%, to nearly $41.1 billion. Still, IT represents only a tiny 0.74% of the total department expenditure planned for 2006.

Among the increases in IT spending being sought for Homeland Security in 2006:

  • $4.7 million, to support maintenance and operations of the IT infrastructure to ensure continuous communications and continuity of operations. "The nature of DHS's mission mandates higher-performance standards for multiple data, voice, and video network environments with higher-than-normal levels of redundancy and [round-the-clock] support," according to department analysis of the budget.
  • $2.5 million, to develop and deliver enterprise tools to track compliance with the Federal Information Security Management Act and other programs, and to monitor continuity-planning implementations as well as to automate systems certifications and accreditations.
  • $5.3 million, to advance geospatial activities. Sixty-seven of the department's 77 business operations require geospatial information and technology. The department's enterprise architecture outlines three core data requirements: identity, location, and time. Geospatial data represents two of them: location and time.
  • $2.5 million, for the Metadata Solution Center for Excellence that supports the department's implementation of the President's National Strategy for Homeland Security. Identifying metadata and establishing common metadata standards for electronic information relevant to homeland security represent key enablers for information sharing, the department says.
  • $2.5 million, for the Solutions Engineering Center of Excellence, which designs and implements the core service components required to institute the department's IT strategy. "These common components will support re-use of data and systems within DHS, and will align with the technical architecture recommended by the Information Systems Council for establishing a national terrorism information-sharing environment," the budget analysis says.
  • $6 million, for a smart-card initiative to provide a common set of credentials for physical and cyber identification for department employees. They will use these credentials to access appropriate data stores and facilities within the department. The White House designated the department as the lead agency for development of federal standards for identification technology.
  • The budget also proposes to increase by 15% the IT-intensive US-Visit program, which tracks the comings and goings of foreign nationals who cross U.S. borders. The increase will help accelerate deployment of the US-Visit system at land borders, and enhance access for border personnel to immigration, criminal, and terrorist information.

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