Here’s What Agencies Could Spend on IT Modernization Per 2018 Omnibus


The $2.26 billion—which includes some maintenance—gives an idea of the scale at which modernization will take place across government.

The 2018 omnibus spending bill that passed the House 256-167 Thursday would fund the federal government through to the end of September, including billions for IT modernization efforts.

The Trump administration is making IT modernization a focal point of its agendas—as seen in the president’s management agenda released this week—and Congress has made overtures to the need to upgrade aging systems, as well.

The Technology Modernization Fund—a centerpiece of the White House’s IT agenda—would start off with $100 million for its first six months, less than half of the $210 million requested by the Trump administration.

Members of the fund’s board declined to comment on the draft bill, deferring until after a spending measure passes Congress.

Beyond that $100 million, the budget includes some $2.26 billion for IT modernization projects, or approximately 0.17 percent of the $1.3 trillion allocated.

That number is on the high side, as some of the language cites the same funding source for both modernization and maintenance. But the number gives an idea of the scale at which modernization will take place across government over the next six months and beyond.

Some highlights:

Office of Management and Budget

The Technology Modernization Fund Board might only get $100 million but that’s not the only governmentwide funding mechanism OMB has to work with. The omnibus includes a $19 million line item for “necessary expenses for the furtherance of integrated, efficient, secure and effective uses of information technology in the federal government.”

These funds can be disbursed to any agency, in any amount at the discretion of OMB Director Mick Mulvaney.

Treasury Department

Treasury would get $24 million in support of the Treasurywide Financial Statement Audit and Internal Control Program, including “information technology modernization requirements.”

The Bureau of Fiscal Service would get $4.21 million specifically for IT modernization.

The IRS was also allocated $110 million to upgrade the technology used in its business systems. That funding comes with a caveat: the agency must submit quarterly reports to Congress detailing costs and schedules.

Office of Personnel Management

The government’s human resources department would get $21 million for IT modernization under the omnibus, a part of which would be used to migrate or modernize the Trust Fund Federal Financial System.

Labor Department

The Labor Department received a $20.77 million line item for IT modernization, writ-large.

Social Security Administration

The agency charged with administering the nation’s safety-net would get $280 million to spend on modernization efforts through the end of 2018.

Housing and Urban Development

The housing agency’s budget line establishes a $267 million fund for both modernization and maintenance efforts. Of that, $250 million is available through to the end of the next fiscal year, ending Sept. 30, 2019, while the remaining $17 million is good through Sept. 30, 2020.

Agriculture Department

The Farm Service Agency is getting $78 million for IT programs, half of which must be used for “the Modernize and Innovate the Delivery of Agricultural Systems and other farm program delivery systems.”

Before agency leaders can spend those funds, congressional appropriations committees want to see documented plans for any projects over $25,000.

Commodity Futures Trading Commission

The independent agency would get $48 million to spend on IT between now and Sept. 30, 2019, so long as at least $2.7 million is spent on the Office of the Inspector General.

Justice Department

The budget sets aside $35 million for the department’s information sharing programs, plus language that enables the attorney general to more than double that by transferring up to $35.4 million from other IT accounts to support this program.

The National Security Division would get a budget of $101 million, of which no more than $5 million can be used for IT programs.

Defense Department

There is plenty of money for the Defense Department in the budget but $91 million of it will go to “develop, replace and sustain” the civilian government’s background investigation IT systems. After the massive breach of OPM systems in 2015, the Defense Department was given charge of creating a security IT system to handle these checks.

The 2018 omnibus enable the secretary of defense to transfer $46 million from the Operation and Maintenance budget line and $45 million from the Research, Development, Test and Evaluation line to fund this program

Securities and Exchange Commission

The financial regulator has some discretion in how it spends its budget. However, the omnibus bill requires the commission to increase its spending on IT initiatives by at least $45 million this year.

Interior Department

The bill establishes a working capital fund for Interior officials to use on operations and maintenance, improvements, cybersecurity and consolidation of facilities—like data centers. That fund would get $62.37 million to be used at any time.

Government Publishing Office

The government’s printers would get $8.54 million for IT development and facility repairs.

Veterans Affairs

The VA would get more than $4.05 billion for IT programs and maintenance, with $328 million set aside for development of new systems.

The budget also includes a $782 million line item to support rollout of the electronic health records system. Those funds would be available through Sept. 30, 2020.

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