- The department would require $535 billion in FY 2013 to execute its FYDP base-budget plans for 2013. This is $9 billion higher than DoD’s budget request. Here, CBO includes the cost of all active-duty personnel instead of the department’s proposed shift of the cost of some personnel out of the base budget to overseas contingency operations (OCO.) (The BCA caps do not apply to OCO and certain other activities.) CBO shifts a total of $15 billion of personnel costs back to the base budget over the 2013–2017 timeframe. This contributes to CBO’s estimate that the overall cost of implementing the FYDP for 2013 through 2017 is about 4.7 percent higher ($123 billion) than DoD’s own estimate.
- To follow through on its FYDP base-budget plans after 2013, the department would need to return to near their 2012 level of $543 billion in 2014 and then grow at 2 percent on average annually through 2017. CBO projects that the current FYDP would require defense appropriations to grow at an average annual rate of 0.9 percent from 2017 to 2030.
- Under DoD’s current plans, from 2013 to 2030 the primary cause of growth in DoD’s costs would be in the area of operation and support (O&S), in which DoD projects significant increases in the costs of military health care, compensation of the department’s military and civilian employees, and various operation and maintenance activities. Weapon systems replacement and modernization costs would grow from $168 billion in 2013 to $212 billion in 2018 —a 26 percent increase.
- In constant dollars, the cost of DoD’s base-budget plans for 2013 through 2021 is $508 billion higher than the BCA’s defense discretionary funding limits before sequestration reductions and $978 billion higher than the available funding after sequestration.
- Ensuring the consultations required under GPRAMA are useful to Congress
- Using performance information produced by executive branch agencies in carrying out various congressional decision-making responsibilities
- To identify issues that the federal government should address
- To measure the federal government’s progress toward addressing those issues; and
- To identify better strategies to address the issues
- Transform the processing of immigration benefits
- Coordinate U.S. efforts to address the global HIV/AIDS pandemic
- Identify and address improper payments made by federal programs
At this point in the fiscal year most eyes are on Congress and the status and direction of the various appropriations bills for the upcoming FY 2013. But agencies are already well underway in their normal budget planning for fiscal 2014, which starts October 2013. Evidence of this is the ongoing trickle of budget policy guidance coming out of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the latest of which gives direction to agencies on the Obama Administration’s Science and Technology (S&T) priorities that should inform their budget formulations. And while it seems unlikely that the heightened sense of fiscal constraint will recede by then the guidance does give hope for some targeted information technology investments.
In his memorandum, Jeffrey D. Zients, Acting Director of OMB lays out the Administration’s mindset on S&T research and encourages agencies to pursue "Grand Challenges" defined as “ambitious goals that require advances in science, technology and innovation to achieve.” Yet, the directive recognizes the trade-offs agencies must make to prioritize among options and instructs them to explain how they are redirecting available resources from lower priorities to the nine science and technology priorities outlined in the memo, which are:
Information Technology Areas in OMB’s S&T Priorities for FY 2014
Simulation and modeling for climate change
Data and tools for policy and management decision support
Fundamental research in computer science and engineering
Cybersecurity to protect systems against current and future attacks
“Big Data” analytics and management
Large-scale high performance computing systems
- Advanced manufacturing – Programs to advance the state of the art in manufacturing, with particular emphasis on government-industry-university partnerships and enabling technologies like robotics, materials development, and additive manufacturing.
- Clean energy – R&D to advance clean-energy technologies, improved meteorological and oceanic forecasting to support deployment of clean-energy technologies, and increasing energy efficiency in industry, buildings, and manufacturing.
- Global climate change – Research that advances understanding of the vulnerabilities in human and biogeophysical systems and their relationships to climate extremes, thresholds, and tipping points.
- R&D for informed policy-making and management – Programs that strengthen the scientific basis for decision-making, especially for health, safety, and environmental impacts.
- Nanotechnology – Efforts that promote the safe, effective, and responsible development and use of nanotechnology as outlined in the 2011 Environmental, Health, and Safety (EHS) Research Strategy.
- Biological Innovation – Research investments that foster biological innovations, especially those which enhance “translational sciences and science that supports regulation to accelerate innovation and regulatory decision-making” as well as enhancing post-secondary biological training.
- Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education – Evidence-based programs to guide the design and implementation of STEM programs and enhance cross-agency coordination of funding to maximize impact.
- Innovation and commercialization – Promote innovation and commercialization through inducement prizes, early-stage technology development, university-industry partnerships, and workforce education.
- Information Technology Research and Development – Agencies are instructed to give priority to investment in various S&T-related areas of IT that range from fundamental research to applied cybersecurity. (See table below.)
The Supreme Court ruled against three of the four provisions of the controversial Arizona immigration law on Monday. In a 5-3 vote, the majority of the justices concluded that the Arizona law unconstitutionally invaded the federal government's exclusive prerogative to set immigration policy. Many states looking to get a better handle on the presence of unauthorized immigrants in their state were watching closely, especially Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina, and Utah, which all currently have pending Arizona-style legislation. With this Supreme Court decision, states and localities may begin looking at the E-Verify program more seriously.
For those not familiar, E-Verify was created in 1997 as a free and voluntary Web-based program targeting federal agencies and contractors. The program evaluates an employee’s Employment Eligibility Verification Form, known as the I-9 Form, against U.S. government records to determine if they are legally eligible to work in the U.S.
If a disparity is found, the employer is alerted and the employee is given eight federal government work days to resolve the issue while retaining employment. The program, operated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA), was mandated for all federal agencies and contractors in 2007. Soon after, a handful of state governments began requiring their state agencies to participate in the E-Verify program as well.
There are currently 17 states that require public and/or private employers to participate in the E-Verify program: Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah and Virginia. While E-Verify mandates vary from state to state, all of the previously mentioned states require government contractors and subcontractors providing direct services to the state to enroll in the E-Verify program.
The E-Verify program is not without its flaws. In 2010, DHS released an outside study on the accuracy of E-Verify’s ability to identify unauthorized workers. The study found that 54% of unauthorized workers were able to slip past the system and gain authorization to work. The study attributed this high number to identity fraud. An unauthorized worker could cheat the system, by submitting documents from a person who was authorized to work. Since that time, DHS has worked diligently to increase E-Verify’s reliability and accuracy.
In most cases government contractors who knowingly employ unauthorized workers risk having their contract terminated. Penalties range in severity from one government entity to the next. For example government contractors that are found to be some of the most egregious E-Verify violators can face heavy fines, upwards of $2,500 per worker (Louisiana) or even five years in jail (Mississippi). However, in most instances, employers using E-Verify are presumed by the government entity to be in good faith and not subject to penalties should an unauthorized worker mistakenly or fraudulently be given authorization. So, it is in the best interest of the contractor to enroll.
So, how might the Supreme Court decision affect government contractors? Likely, state and local government mandates for E-Verify will pick-up steam. For most large government contractors who do federal and multistate government business, E-Verify is something of an old issue. Smaller and more regional government contractors may have recently ran into E-Verify hurdles, especially as the program becomes more popular among states and localities.
The main obstacles government contractors are experiencing are mostly logistical. Navigating though E-Verify’s enrollment and compliance process can be daunting and confusing to smaller firms with limited resources. Also, arranging to have all new and most existing employees verified within 30 days of a contract award can be a nightmare to medium-sized firms with decentralized staff. If a government contractor does not know where to start and wants to avoid potential fines, they can seek out third-party assistance from E-Verify employer agents who use E-Verify to confirm the employment eligibility of another company's employees. The agents audit all I-9 forms and identify errors to be corrected before submitting them to the government entity.
In light of the Supreme Court decision, and as illegal immigration becomes a bigger issue on the agenda for states, E-Verify will no doubt be a hot topic. Government contractors who are not currently enrolled in E-Verify and do most of their business with states and local government should start investigating the enrollment process now. In the future, E-Verify will become a standard tool and more prominent fixture in the state and local government contracting market.
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- The Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics
- The Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisition
- The Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition