Nov 28 2012

The Future of Federal IT: A Look at the 2013 Budget

Three trends are shaping the next 12 months of federal technology.

The federal government spends a lot of money on IT — $78 billion to be exact.

That’s the budget for fiscal year 2013, and federal CIO Steven VanRoekel has recently released his priorities, guided by this mission statement:

We will aspire to promote a bright and prosperous future for the United States through the strategic use of Federal Information Technology.

We will do so by driving efficiency and effectiveness across Government, spurring innovation, protecting and defending our resources and more effectually bringing Government services to Americans.

While the federal government is constantly investing in emerging technology, it also faces the challenge of maintaining legacy technology. VanRoekel must balance the two, with a budget smaller than that from 2012, while handling increasing cybersecurity threats. Here are a few highlights from the report, which is available for download:

  • Consolidation: There are huge opportunities to cut costs by combining data centers. The Defense Department was able to close 100 data centers by merging the data into existing data centers. That move alone stands to save the government $300 million dollars in 2013, and that is just the beginning:

    Federal Chief Information Officer Steven VanRoekel announced a goal to close more than 1,200 of the 3,133 data centers across the government. He said shutting this many data centers would save the government more than $3 billion by 2015.

  • Shared services: Expect to hear more about shared services initiatives as well. The Environmental Protection Agency has saved $10 million “by consolidating IT procurements and standardizing help desks.” The cost of IT has skyrocketed over the past decade, and according to the Federal Information Technology Shared Services Strategy document, we haven’t been able to maintain a clean infrastructure.

    There are nearly 300 organizations in the Executive Branch of the Federal Government that employ more than 2.6 million people and operate over 10,000 IT systems. These organizations provide a myriad of manual and online services to customer groups that include citizens, industry, and other government agencies at the federal, state, local, tribal, and international levels. Moreover, annual spending on IT by these organizations has increased steadily over the past decade to nearly $80 billion.

  • Focus on cybersecurity: This is a pressing issue for national security and will receive considerable attention from the federal government. In total, $769 million will be invested in the National Cyber Security Division at the Homeland Security Department, including $202 million earmarked for continuous monitoring.

    Download the 2013 budget document, and take a closer look at where the budget will be spent.

<p>Image courtesy of digitalart / <a href="" target="_blank"></a></p>

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