Bush's 2008 Budget Proposal Shortchanges IT

In all, Bush proposed a budget of $2.9 trillion -- $200 million more than last year's proposal. While the Report on Information Technology Spending for the Federal Government won't be published until the spring, the budget proposal for IT and associated support services grew a modest 3 percent to $65 billion.

Specifically, the federal government will experience a 2 percent dip in the number of major IT investments per the proposal, from 857 to 840. That decrease is attributed to "departments and agencies better managing their Capital Planning and Investment Control (CPIC) process in conformance with their enterprise architectures." CPIC is the systematic approach to selecting, managing and evaluating information technology investments mandated by the Clinger Cohen Act of 1996.

"We don't have a lot of detail about the IT budget at this time," says Ray Bjorklund, senior vice president and chief knowledge officer at FedSources. "We have looked at some other dimensions of the budget related to professional services and communications. Growth is slow or flat in those areas as well, although the embedded requests for supplemental and emergency appropriations are skewing the overall DoD budget to a much higher number. That is good in the short term, but not realistic in the long run."

According to a statement by the President, the 2008 budget proposal invests substantial resources to fight the war on terror and protect citizens at home, supporting his latest strategy to increase the number of troops in Iraq. The budget request for the Department of Defense was $481 billion, an increase of $52 billion compared to base funding levels enacted in the 2007.

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Limited growth in other areas offsets that proposed increase in spending, allowing Bush to promote reductions in the federal deficit that lead to a balanced budget in 2012.

An overview of the budget proposal notes education and health care as top priorities, though the budget requests for both remain flat compared to the budgets enacted in 2007 -- $56 billion and $69 billion, respectively.