White House seeks $74 billion for federal civilian IT in 2024

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The administration is proposing a nearly $10 billion bump in federal spending to achieve its modernization goals, including several significant increases in spending on IT and cybersecurity at civilian agencies.

The White House has requested about $74 billion for spending on information technology in its fiscal year 2024 budget, up about $10 billion from the current year.

According to new details released by the White House on Monday, the FY2024 request includes a more than $10 billion increase for federal spending on IT from the prior fiscal year. The boost will support governmentwide improvements to cybersecurity, IT modernization, providing a digital-first customer experience and developing frameworks to guide agencies in utilizing data as a strategic asset, the White House said. 

The nearly 13% increase in the administration's request for total federal IT spending includes a significant boost in funding for several agencies, including the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Health and Human Services—both of which have struggled for years to transition from outdated legacy systems, among other modernization challenges. The request also features $12.7 billion—a nearly 13% increase—in budget authorities for cyber-related activities.

Stan Soloway, president and CEO of Celero Strategies and a member of the Defense Business Board, told FCW that "the real growth is about half the 13%, due to inflation."

The latest request includes approximately $10.9 billion for the VA—a more than 26% increase from the FY2023 request of nearly $8.6 billion—and about $10 billion for HHS, a nearly 28% increase from the prior year. Despite spending billions a year to maintain its IT systems and assets, numerous Government Accountability Office reports have pointed to the VA's long-standing hurdles deploying IT initiatives across critical areas for modernization. The agency has also struggled to maintain systems housing vast troves of sensitive information, like veterans’ health records. Cybersecurity experts and industry groups have long warned that agencies may struggle with implementation challenges around the administration’s cybersecurity goals, from the president’s 2021 cybersecurity executive order to the national cyber strategy released earlier this month, due to a lack of consistent funding. 

Chris Wysopal, founder and chief technology officer of the cybersecurity firm Veracode, told FCW that the budget request for IT and cybersecurity "is commensurate with escalating global cybersecurity threats" and added that the request reflects the administration’s commitment to combating emerging threats “with adequate resources."

Other agencies saw major increases in their estimated spending on cybersecurity, including the Department of State, which is estimated to spend $748 million on cybersecurity as part of the latest request, compared to $570 million for FY2023. The VA also saw a significant boost in projected cybersecurity spending, increasing from $611 million last year to more than $900 million in FY2024.