FierceGovernmentIT covers the fiscal 2012 budget request - UPDATED II


By David Perera and Molly Bernhart Walker

The fiscal 2012 annual spending request (.pdf) for the federal government delivered to Congress on Feb. 14 projects $3.73 trillion in spending for fiscal 2012, which starts Oct. 1.

Mandatory spending--that is, benefit payments for programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid--accounts for 58.4 percent of that total, with the balance going toward discretionary programs, i.e., federal agencies, including the Defense Department.

Within the $1.34 trillion slated for discretionary spending, about $881 billion would go toward security spending and $462 billion to non-security. The budget proposes a freeze on discretionary non-security funding through 2015.

We've gone through the budget request and supporting materials for information technology specific funding--click on the list of agencies below to go directly to what we've found. 











Intelligence community




















  • The Office of Management and Budget requests $60 million for a new line item titled "Integrated Efficient and Effective Uses of Information Technology." The funding would be used "to implement a phased approach to a shared services delivery model for federal information technology." The request says that OMB would manage the selection and oversight of projects, but transfer the money to agencies for project execution. 

  • The Veterans Affairs Department requests $3.16 billion in appropriated funds for information technology, along with $50 million in "reimbursable obligations," for a total projected spent of $3.289 billion. VA is unique among cabinet-level agencies in that it has a single appropriation for all its IT, controlled by the chief information officer. The requested amount is lower than the amount the VA spent in fiscal 2010, and far lower than the projected amount for fiscal 2011, which is $3.961 billion.

    Click to listen to audio of VA officials discussing their budget request in a press call with reporters

    Most of the IT request is for IT infrastructure, which consumes $1.8 billion of the request. The Veterans Health Administration would spend $335 million under the request and the Veterans Benefits Administration $184 million.

    Click to go to the VA's fiscal 2012 budget webpage

  • The Federal Aviation Administration wants $1.1 billion for NextGen, its at least $40 billion air traffic modernization effort, $347 million more than it got during fiscal 2010. That amount includes an one-time appropriation of $250 million; 200 million would be used for applied research and implementation of engineering solutions, with the other $50 million used for upgrading FAA capital infrastructure, such as power systems and air traffic control towers. 

    The FAA also wants $190 million for research, engineering and development, to be paid out of the Airport and Airway Trust Fund. This line item is the main source of funding for NextGen and the NextGen Joint Planning and Development Office. The amount is about the same as the enacted fiscal 2010 amount ($191 million) and the projected fiscal 2011 amount (also $191 million). 

    Click to download the Transportation Department's fiscal 2012 budget highlights documents (.pdf)

  • The Office of Personnel Management requests $10 million in appropriated funds for the office of the chief information officer. The requested amount is more than half the amount OPM's OCIO spent in fiscal 2010, $27 million; the budget request does not provide details on why the fiscal 2012 request is significantly lower.

    The agency's revolving fund, which requests a total of $1.85 billion in new obligations--$400 million less than what the agency's revolving fund spent in 2010--provides financing for OPM projects on behalf of agencies including the development and management of USAJOBS. The revolving fund fully or partially supports three e-government projects: E-Clearance, the Human Resources Line of Business and Enterprise Human Resources Integration.
  • The Homeland Security Department requests $277.97 million for its headquarters office of the chief information officer, of which $105.58 million would go to salaries and expenses and $172.39 million for the development and acquisition of IT. Of the salaries amount, $253,000 would go toward "strengthening the capacity and capabilities of the acquisition workforce."

    Listen to DHS officials discuss the budget request in a press call with reporters.

    That total direct amount for the DHS OCIO is considerably less than the $358 million enacted in fiscal 2010 and the $398 million projected to be spent during fiscal 2011. Spending within the OCIO for "security activities" would also be far less than previous years, with DHS requesting just $90 million compared to the $158 it spent in fiscal 2010 and the $185 million projected to be spent in fiscal 2011.

    The department also wants $936.48 million for infrastructure protection and information security, of which $529,037 would go toward strengthening the acquisition workforce. The total amount is more than the fiscal 2010 funding, which was $836 million, but less than the $1.07 billion it's projected to spend in the current fiscal year. This line item funds, among other activities, the National Cyber Security Division, the National Communications System and the Office of Emergency Communications.

    DHS also requests $527.62 million for "Border Security Fencing, Infrastructure and Technology" spending; this is the line item that in years past funded the Customs and Border Protection's doomed SBInet effort to create a virtual border fence based on multi-sensor, integrated fixed towers feeding information into a common operating picture.

    The budget requests says that DHS will continue to fund detection and surveillance systems with the $527.62 million, as well as modernize tactical communications along the southwest border, evaluate existing technologies for application along the border, and  establish and maintain tactical infrastructure consisting of fencing, roads, vegetation removal, etc.

    The amount is less than the $825 million DHS spent on that line item in fiscal 2010, and less than the $800 million it's projected to spend in the current fiscal year.

    CBP requests $364.03 million to be available until expended for its ongoing modernization effort, which consists of projects including the Automated Commercial Environment and Critical Operations Protection and Processing Support.

    ACE, a troubled web-based program meant to better manage international trade, would get $170 million. COPPS, which provides nearly all the CBP IT infrastructure, would get $194 million. The overall automation amount is less than previous years--CBP spent $415 million on automation modernization in fiscal 2010 and is projected to spend $422 million this fiscal year.

    US-VISIT's appropriations, meanwhile, would also decrease, with DHS requesting $302.27 million until expended--less than the $359 million DHS spent on the program in fiscal 2010 and less than the $426 million it's projected to spend in fiscal 2011. US-VISIT takes electronic fingerprints of foreign nationals entering the United States and checks the identity of travelers against federal databases. DHS will return $25.64 million available to the program for prior year appropriations, funds slated for setting up US-VISIT for when foreign nationals exit the country. 

    Immigration and Customs Enforcement wants $13.86 million until expanded for its ongoing automation modernization effort, far less than the $107 million it got in fiscal 2010 and the $90 million ICE estimates it will spend this year. 

    The Science and Technology Directorate would get $1.4 billion for management and administration under the budget request, an amount that represents a steady increase since fiscal 2010, when the amount was $1.27 billion and the projection for this year, which is $1.3 billion. DHS also requests $1.03 billion for research, development, acquisition and operations.

    Click to download .pdfs of the DHS fiscal 2012 budget in brief, or the congressional budget justification, or a fact sheet

  • The National Archives and Records Administration requests $49 million for its Electronic Records Archives. ERA has a troubled past and NARA has said it will halt developmental activities by the end of this fiscal year, although it could later restart them. The requested amount is less than the $67 million NARA spent on ERA in fiscal 2010 and less than the projected $86 million it'll spend this fiscal year.  

    Click for a NARA statement on its budget request

  • The Justice Department wants $54.31 million for information sharing technology, a line item controlled by the DOJ chief information officer that funds efforts including the Law Enforcement Information Sharing Program, the DOJ unified financial management system, and DOJ cybersecurity efforts. The amount, which would be available until expended, is nonetheless less than the fiscal 2010 amount, $95 million, and the projected fiscal 2011 amount, $96 million.

    Click to go to a Justice statement on its fiscal 2012 budget request

  • NASA requests an appropriation of $5.02 billion for the Science Mission Directorate, which is comprised of the agency's earth and space science programs. NASA's request is $519 million more than the directorate spent in 2010.

    The Science Mission Directorate contains, among other things, the Joint Agency Satellite Division, which manages work NASA performs on a cost-reimbursable basis for other federal agencies. Prominent examples include the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-R and Joint Polar Satellite System programs, and the United States Geological Survey's Landsat program.

    GOES satellites provide weather and environmental data while hovering in geostationary orbit over North America.  A Government Accountability Office report in October 2010 identified a possible gap in GOES satellite coverage from April to October 2015 and non-existent contingency plans.

    JPSS has also been in the news as of late since GAO reports and Congressional testimony indicated its National Polar-Orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System has struggled due to a "management structure that delayed decisions at critical moments." 

    Click to go to NASA's fiscal 2012 budget request homepage

  • The Commerce Department requests $23 million for Enterprise Cybersecurity Monitoring and Operations. The request will fund the department's multiyear cybersecurity strategy to implement agencywide continuous monitoring and situational awareness systems. The funding would also support an "IT enterprise architecture that supports mission-critical business and programmatic requirements, including addressing cybersecurity threats." The DoC has no "actual" cost numbers for this account from 2010 because it did not exist in the 2010 budget.  

    The department also requests $284 million, $25 million less than it spent in 2010, to remain available until expended for its Economic Development and Assistance Programs. EDAP focuses on six, broad development assistance programs with invest in grants, to generate or retain jobs, attract private sector investment and encourage startups. One banner EDAP project is the Wireless Innovation and Infrastructure Initiative (WI3), which proposes to "reallocate a total of 500 megahertz of federal agency and commercial spectrum bands over the next 10 years in order to increase Americans access to wireless broadband."

    According to DoC, the auction of spectrum will not only facilitate public access to spectrum, it will generate more than $27 billion by 2021. Some of the expected receipts will help set ups a public safety broadband network and some will be invested into a Wireless Innovation Fund. The WIN Fund will offer $100 million in grants and prizes as part of competitions among innovators developing "regional clusters of wireless innovation."

    The Bureau of Economic Analysis requests $109 million--it spent $94 million in 2010--for, among other projects, the creation of a new Economic Dashboard. Such a dashboard would "provide far greater tools than currently exist for analysts, policy-makers and regulators."

    Click to go to a Commerce statement on its fiscal 2012 budget request

  • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration requests $118 million for its National Environmental Satellite Service--that's $81 million less than it enacted in 2010 and $82 million less than the projected fiscal 2011 amount for that account, which was previously called the National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service. The program's budget operates NOAA's polar-orbiting and geostationary environmental satellites and manages the product development and product distribution of the corresponding data, as part of a joint program with NASA.

    NOAA also requests $2.05 billion for procurement, acquisition and construction, $695 million more than it spent in 2010. This account will handle the initial phase of an upgrade to NOAA's Weather and Climate Operational Supercomputing System in 2012.

    Click to go to the NOAA budget office webpage

  • The Patent and Trademark Office requests $2.71 billion for its general fund, to remain available until expended. According to the budget, requested 2012 funding will be used to reduce the overall patent pendency and backlog over the next three years and make improvements to its information technology infrastructure. The budget also provides resources for projects that will leverage e-government to improve the trademark examination ad registration process.    

    Click to download the PTO fiscal 2012 budget request

  • The National Institute of Standards and Technology requests $678.94 million to be available until expended for scientific and technical research and services, a notable increase in new budget authority from the $515 million Congress gave NIST in fiscal 2010 and the $515 million the agency is projected to spend this year.

    Part of that bump is due to NIST's cybersecurity program (what NIST is calling "Ensuring a Secure and Robust Cyber Infrastructure") which would receive a $43.3 million increase. $24.5 million of that would go to the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace, while the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education would get $4 million.  A new effort also called the Scalable Cybersecurity for Emerging Technologies and Threats would get $14.9 million. 

    NIST also requests $75 million for its Technology Innovation Program in 2012. The requested amount is lower than the amount the NIST enacted in fiscal 2010, which was $77 million, and far lower than the projected amount for fiscal 2011, which is $104 million. TIP was established by the recently reauthorized America COMPETES Act and aims to accelerate innovation through research competitions. "TIP support for collaborative high-risk, high-reward technology development projects aims to attract a critical mass of talent in industry, academia and government to take on important national challenges that can be addressed through advances in technology," according to NIST. 

    Click to see NIST's fiscal 2012 budget request
  • The Internal Revenue Service would get $333.6 million for its business system modernization effort, including the expansion of CADE 2 and modernized e-File. The amount is considerably more than the $264 million the program was appropriated in fiscal 2010 and is also projected to spend this year.

    The IRS BSM effort has seen considerable ups and downs in its decade-long existence and came close to cancelation in 2005.

    Click to download .pdf copies the IRS fiscal 2012 budget in brief  or the congressional budget submission
  • Within the Health and Human Services Department, the office of the national coordinator for health information technology would get $57.01 million, more than in normal appropriations than it received in fiscal 2010 and is projected to spend this year ($41 million in both cases), but far less than the money it's recently had available for direct program activities.

    That's because fiscal 2010 and 2011 gave ONC access to Recovery Act dollars, a well set to go dry come October. In fiscal 2010, the office spent $1.82 billion through the Recovery Act and in the current fiscal year, it's projected to spend $158 million. 

    Click to go to the HHS fiscal 2012 budget webpage

  • The intelligence community wants $55 billion in fiscal 2012 appropriations to fund all its operations, though the office of the director of national intelligence isn't saying anything publically beyond its topline request. Up until recently, even the overall amount was a state secret, but the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 requires the ODNI to disclose it.

    Some budget analysts estimate that the intelligence community spends about $10 billion annually on IT.

    Click for an ODNI statement on its fiscal 2012 topline (.pdf) 

  • The Federal Communications Commission requests $9.1 billion for its Universal Services Fund--or $109 million more than it enacted for the account in fiscal 2010 and $277 million more than it's projected spend for fiscal 2011. The account supports telecommunications carriers if they provide service to high-cost areas, provide eligible services at a discount to schools, libraries or rural healthcare providers, or provide subsidized service or subsidized telephone installation to low-income consumers. President Obama's Wireless Innovation and Infrastructure Initiative (WI3), also helps fund projects in this account with a focus on broadband support.

    FCC also requests $2.5 billion for its National Wireless Initiative, a component of WI3, which was not included in the fiscal 2010 budget and excluded from the fiscal 2011 continuing resolution. The program is charged with expanding next generation wireless broadband networks into rural portions of the United States, to cover more than 97 percent of the population.

    Click for FCC's budget fiscal 2012 budget report (.pdf)