New details released on proposed 2016 IT spending

Treasury, State and Labor Departments among biggest winners for increased IT investment spending in proposed 2016 budget. Health and Human Services, HUD and GSA would see cutbacks.

The Obama administration has released new details on what federal agencies plan to invest on new and existing information technology projects in fiscal year 2016, if Congress were to approve the budget plan the White House released Monday.

The proposed IT investment figures, totaling $79.8 billion, represent a 1.8 percent increase over the $78.3 billion agencies estimate they’ll spend this fiscal year, and a 10.3 percent increase over fiscal 2014 outlays.

The figures include $30.7 billion for the bulk of Defense Department IT projects proposed for 2016, but they exclude an estimated $6.6 billion for IT investments on classified projects.

Altogether, the administration said IT investment spending would total $86.4 billion in fiscal 2016, if approved, according to an
IT summary document released with the proposed budget.


The Department of Health and Human Services continues to top the list of biggest IT spenders among civilian agencies, with plans to invest $11.4 billion on new and existing projects in fiscal 2016. HHS is followed by the departments of Homeland Security ($6.2 billion), Treasury ($4.5 billion) and Veterans Affairs ($4.4 billion).

But HHS’ portfolio of 577 major IT projects would receive $1.2 billion less in 2016 than this year, due in part to extraordinary spending over the past year to fix the administration’s troubled health care insurance exchange.

The breakout of
Federal IT Spending for Budget Year 2016 also reveals that about $78 out of every $100 the government plans to spend on civilian agency IT projects goes to basic operations and maintenance. Only $22.14 would go to new development initiatives in 2016. That’s down from $23.01 estimated for this year.

The departments of Labor, Treasury and State, along with the Office of Personnel Management and the U.S. Agency for International Aid, showed the most significant increases in proposed 2016 IT spending. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the General Services Administration and the Department of Housing and Urban Development were among those posting reductions in investment spending for in the 2016 budget.


Administration officials did not respond to requests for explanations regarding the changes. At least some of the changes reflect adjustments following back-to-back years of department budget cutbacks.

Details of The Departments of Labor, Treasury, and State registered the biggest increases in proposed IT spending in the President

Less evident in the budget numbers are continuing efforts to improve the performance of agency IT portfolio investments, through the administration’s PortfolioStat reviews and through cross-agency initiatives. PortfolioStat, which measures how well agency IT projects are meeting budget and scheduling targets, customer needs, and protecting federal data and systems adequately, has helped reduce the number of out-of-control IT projects.

The Office of Management and Budget said 74 percent of all rated IT investments were meeting the administration’s standards in January 2014, compared to 69 percent in 2012. Figures for the current year are not yet available.

The administration has also touted efforts to promote and support
digital services teams. The president’s budget request noted the president wants to designate $105 million to support governmentwide digital services and the recently created office of U.S. Digital Service.

Wyatt Kash

Written by Wyatt Kash

Wyatt Kash is an award-winning editor/journalist and digital content and media specialist who has been covering the government technology market for the past two decades. He currently serves as Senior Vice President of Content Strategy for Washington, DC-based Scoop News Group, where he leads content strategy and development for SNG's clients. Before joining SNG in 2014, he previously led content and community development for InformationWeek; co-led a start-up team at AOL to launch, manage and market an online news platform aimed at government, defense and technology industry executives; and served in senior management and content development positions at The Washington Post's Tech Media group, 1105 Media, Hanley Wood and Lebhar-Friedman. He has interviewed hundreds of CEOs and top executives and spoken on industry trends at events throughout the U.S., Europe, Asia and the Middle East. His editorial teams have been recognized with more than three dozen journalism awards. A graduate of Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, he earned national honors as a recipient of the G.D. Crain Award, given to one individual annually for outstanding career contributions to editorial excellence in American business media.

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