The Biden administration Thursday in its fiscal 2024 budget request to Congress calls for significant increases in federal IT spending within key agencies like the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Social Security Administration, the General Services Administration, and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.
In its budget request, the White House appears to be focused on supporting federal agencies with pressing IT modernization needs and those that provide critical federal services in need of improved customer experience, according to budget documents released by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
“The Administration is focused on understanding where agencies are on their IT modernization journeys and making intentional investments at the right time to enable secure technology and innovation to advance from year to year,” the budget request explains.
Here are some of the highlights of major federal IT spending requested in Biden’s budget for 2024:
- $6.4 billion — $619 million above the 2023 enacted level — for the VA’s Office of Information Technology (IT) to continue upgrades to VA IT systems;
- $1.9 billion to continue modernizing the VA’s problem-ridden electronic health record (EHR) system to ensure veterans “receive world-class healthcare well into the future;”
- $3.1 billion for the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), an increase of $145 million compared to last year. That includes $98 million to implement the Cyber Incident Reporting for Critical Infrastructure Act and $425 million to improve internal cybersecurity and analytical capabilities;
- $1.4 billion — a 10% increase from the 2023 enacted level — for Social Security Administration (SSA) IT system modernization and to invest in staff and other improvements at the SSA;
- $119 million to support GSA in continuing its work implementing priority digital programs such as the US Web Design System, Digital Analytics Program, Digital.gov, and Search.gov;
- $6.6 million for the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to modernize federal retirement services including expanding a pilot for online retirement applications and beginning to fund additional IT modernization initiatives akin to a case management system;
- $11 million for the Department of Health and Human Services to test ways to improve access to benefits for people facing financial shock by improving underlying eligibility data services and systems. It also requests $9 million for HHS and SSA to jointly pilot efforts to improve the Medicare enrollment experience; and
- $1 million for the United States Forest Service to pilot increased access to digital maps of Federal lands on Recreation.gov.
The White House said that the 2024 budget request also aims to tap into the strengths of cutting-edge technologies like digital identity and artificial intelligence (AI) while restructuring the security capabilities of software and cloud services used by the federal government.
“The Administration is leading on the technology issues of the day, taking concrete steps to protect the Nation’s Federal systems from compromises, leveraging the benefits of digital identity and artificial intelligence while balancing risk, redefining security expectations for software and the cloud, and maximizing the impact of taxpayer dollars to deliver a better customer experience for the American people,” the budget request explained.
Notably, Biden’s budget also proposes boosting cybersecurity-focused programs across a range of other federal agencies as well.