The 2006 federal IT budget recently released by the Bush administration recognizes the country’s growing reliance on rapidly evolving technologies. The Department of Defense (DoD), in particular, depends heavily on new technologies to solve security, warfare and cost-management issues. The $65 billion budget request for fiscal year 2006 (FY2006) represents a 7.1 percent increase in the overall IT spending from the FY2005 budget and includes a 4.9 percent increase for the DoD IT programs. The new budget demonstrates the largest growth in IT spending since the Bush administration took office.
According to Clear Point Strategies, an analysis and consulting firm, the DoD spending for FY2006 is budgeted at $30.1 billion. Keith Symmers, CEO of Clear Point, says that the new budget is not unexpected and states that it shows “a small, incremental growth but not a huge additional windfall that some had hoped for. But,” he adds, “the IT budget is growing, whereas many other aspects of the federal budget are being cut.”
Telecommunications, security and infrastructure continue to be the top spending areas in IT for the DoD. “Everyone, from the soldier out in the battlefield to the general and admiral back in Washington, is very much dependent on communications,” explains Symmers, “and that continues to be the major investment point.” Mobile communications systems and VoIP are two major IT focuses for the DoD. And while communications continues to be a focus in IT, “security is growing and infrastructure is waning somewhat,” says Symmers.
In terms of overall federal IT spending, the DoD represents 46 percent of the total IT budget. While the Department of Homeland Security, with an IT budget request of $5 billion, makes up only 9.1 percent of the federal IT budget.
GTSI, a government information technology and solutions aggregator, applauded the Bush administration for its IT investment. Dendy Young, GTSI CEO, stated that the budget represents a well-balanced growth plan. •