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Big Data Investments are Accelerating across the DoD

In a recent blog posting that received wide industry attention, I detailed how the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is investing big money in research and development efforts related to big data.  An observation discussed in that post concerned the fact that advanced analytics and technologies like distributed computing are becoming entwined with modern, networked weapons systems. The incorporation of big data is a function not only of the growing complexity of weapons, but also of the command and control capabilities that today’s U.S. military is employing.  Facing a falling number of military personnel, all branches of the Defense establishment are turning to networked and unmanned weapons commanded and controlled from a distance to offset the strain on American fighting power.

In this context, DARPA’s R&D efforts are the “tip of the spear” when it comes to figuring out how big data technology can enhance combat capabilities.  DARPA is not the only Defense organization, however, that is dedicating R&D dollars in this area. The military services are also investing and in general the funding flowing into those research efforts is growing annually.


As the numbers in the chart above demonstrate, all of the military services are funding R&D efforts related to big data.  The data in the table above reflects projects in the FY 2016 Defense Research, Development, Test, and Enhancement (RDT&E) budget request that are dedicated primarily to some type of big data R&D.  Put otherwise, developing a big data-related capability is the primary objective of the effort. In addition to these primary efforts, there is a plethora of other research programs that include big data technologies as part of the effort.  The FY 2016 requested funding numbers for those programs with a related big data component are shown below.

What to make of these figures?

First, when the primary objective of a project (Table 1) is developing a big data solution, the Navy is leading the way among the military services.  A big reason for this is the Navy’s push to employ unmanned systems – aerial, surface, and undersea – on a much greater scale than at present.  The development of these systems requires an incredible amount of money, with work focused on enhanced C2 capabilities, cyber security, and analytics for parsing intel data gathered by these systems.  This trend is in evidence in the Air Force and Army as well, just not to the extent it is in the Navy, so if your company works in this area, it is a green field.

Second, from FY 2015 to FY 2016, the Army intends to nearly double its investment in primary big data related R&D (Table 1), reflecting a focus on parsing intel data and on utilizing big data for cyber security operations, especially automated network monitoring and defensive response.

Third, the Air Force is the only service that will see investment in primary big data R&D fall in FY 2016. This is due to some slight cuts in multi-source fusion technologies research and in the evaluation of advanced countermeasure concepts.  When it comes to big data R&D related to other efforts (Table 2), the total planned investment grows significantly, with a special focus on the automation of complex networks, analysis and use of sensor fusion technology, and exploitation of intel data.

In conclusion, looking at this one piece of the DoD big data market we can see that the military services intend to spend at least $159 million in FY 2016 on R&D related primarily to a big data objective.  At most, they intend to spend almost $725 million, if we count programs with a related big data component.  Keep in mind that these numbers do not include present investments in operations and maintenance and procurement programs. Big data R&D is thus a growing area of Defense IT spending in an otherwise flat market.


Army Investment in Unmanned Systems Benefits IT Vendors

The U.S. Army today faces significant budgetary and technological challenges. The fiscal limitations alone cannot be underestimated. With the Army’s annual budget falling the last several years, military leaders have been forced to cut both programs and personnel. Current projections show that by FY 2019 the number of active Army personnel will slide to 420,000 troops, down 14.3% from the current level of 490,000. Rapid technological change is also altering the circumstances under which Army personnel operate, as potential adversaries with advanced technical capabilities, particularly in the area of electronic warfare, challenge U.S. military supremacy.

In response to these challenges, the Army is turning to ever more advanced platforms for intelligence gathering and electronic warfare, particularly platforms that are unmanned and/or robotic. These platforms are unlike previous generations of technology in that they continuously generate vast amounts of data. This data requires analysis, which is a potential boon to vendors that offer advanced analytic capabilities. There are, however, other areas related to unmanned systems where information technology vendors can find business opportunity. These include modeling and simulation, algorithm design, software development, autonomy/artificial intelligence, testing, machine learning, cyber security, and electronic warfare-cyber convergence.

The Army’s investment in unmanned systems is symptomatic of the fundamental transformation of modern warfare into a seamlessly intertwined network of weapons systems, surveillance platforms, and IT capabilities. It therefore behooves those of us tracking federal IT to keep an eye on unmanned systems spending for the business opportunities it presents.

The table below shows programs directly related to the development and fielding of unmanned systems, as listed in the Army’s Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation budget request for FY 2016.

Generally speaking, this part of the Army’s budget request includes dollars that will be spent on research and development efforts. It is often considered to be “new” money the Army is asking for, unlike the funding it requests for Operations and Maintenance, Military Construction, etc. As we can see, the Army invests a lot on unmanned systems. This RDT&E spending amounted to nearly $263 million in FY 2014 alone. In FY 2015, the Army anticipates spending almost $289 million. In FY 2016, however, investment drops-off to roughly $218 million. There is no data to explain this decline, but my assumption is that planners have factored in the threat of sequestration.

It is worth noting that the development effort surrounding every one of these systems has one or more IT components related to it. These components include systems design, software engineering, and testing, among a myriad of other activities. The work is generally centered at the Army Research Laboratory, although considerable effort also takes place at the Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC). Finally, the programs listed above are those which deal directly with unmanned systems. There is also work related to unmanned systems in programs where unmanned systems are but one part of a larger effort. For these programs, the Army has requested $285 million in FY 2016, making the pot that much sweeter in the coming fiscal year.


State budget overview: Critical information on priorities and funding for vendors

As spring progresses, news from most states is centered on legislative actions (some controversial) passed before the annual sine die adjournment of the state legislature. With that backdrop, many state legislatures will approve budgets for the coming fiscal year or biennium. Beyond the headlines about the growth of government and funding cuts to pet projects, or the spin promulgated by lawmakers’ press releases and governor budget addresses, vendors can find essential information on state priorities.

A state’s budget and how it passed into law is important information for a vendor to have when deciding in which states or localities to compete for business. For most states, the budget process follows the same approval path by the full legislature and the governor’s signature. The first step in this process generally comes from the state agencies themselves. In most cases, these agencies report to the governor as part of the executive branch. The agencies conduct their own planning and budgeting process and submit a request to the governor’s budget team or office. The governor and his or her team then decide which priorities and funding to include and compile a document of the governor’s recommendations for submittal to the state legislature.

At Deltek, we spend quite a bit of time compiling and analyzing the state governors’ recommended budgets. The budgets, along with other compiled data,  are contained in Deltek’s State Government Profiles. The profiles provide essential and in-depth reference and research on state budgets, procurement, and organizational details to assist contractors in building important state buyer relationships and quickly ramping up new government sales professionals.

A governor’s proposed budget is by no means the final budget that makes it out of a state legislature, though it provides valuable insight about the executive priorities and the fiscal condition of the state. These documents also provide us with historical expenditure data, which allows for a more in-depth analysis of budget trends and fiscal realities. 

Following the governor’s lead, the state legislature begins work on their own version of the budget. Sometimes they use the governor’s recommendations as a starting point, but this is not always the case in adversarial political environments. Both houses of the legislature (for every state but Nebraska) weigh in on the budget as it goes through the normal process of committee and floor votes, and then conference committees work to reconcile any differences. The legislature submits the budget to the governor and he or she decides to approve it or not.  

For vendors, both the governor’s proposed budget and the final version are important documents. They can help to understand both the priorities of an administration and the reality of the political system and/or fiscal climate. Of course, they also offer insight into exactly where state funding is flowing and which departments will be looking for vendor support. 

In the coming months, look for the compilation of state budget data, including IT line items and detailed Deltek analysis of this data. In addition, vendors in the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) space should watch for more budget data specific to state investment in AEC as outlined in state capital budgets.

You can learn more about state budgets in Deltek’s State Government Profiles. Not a Deltek subscriber? Click here to learn more about Deltek's GovWin IQ service and gain access to a free trial


Big Data Programs at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency

The Department of Defense is investing big in goods and services related to big data. This investment, however, is not spread evenly across the department. It exists instead in certain agencies where the spending is deep and related to a variety of other programs. One of these agencies is Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, as it is commonly known. DARPA does research and assessments related to the applicability of cutting edge technologies to U.S. national security, including unmanned systems, robotics, cyber security, mobility, networking and computing technologies, and others.

Underlying the research and development work at DARPA are significant investments in advanced algorithms, analytics, and data fusion that illustrate the importance of “big data” to the efficient use of next generation systems and weapons platforms. Put differently, more and more of DoD’s weapons and communications systems, as well as the platforms that carry them, are becoming extremely complex. They are now so complex, in fact, that big data analytics and algorithms are necessary for them to function properly. Big data analytics and algorithms are thus a foundational technology without which an increasing number of advanced DoD weapons systems and platforms would not function.

Knowing this makes a big difference when it comes to understanding where business opportunity can be found at the DoD. Big data is such a complex subject, and its uses are so varied, that it is rare if an acquisition calls explicitly for a specific solution by name or the term “big data.” This makes selling big data solutions and services to defense customers tricky.

Getting back to DARPA, the fact is that big data is in use across the agency. It appears primarily in R&D work related to software development, algorithm design, and data fusion efforts. The two tables below identify programs that have big data requirements related to them. Table 1 lists DARPA programs in which big data goods or services are the primary requirement. Table 2 shows DARPA programs in which big data requirements are but one of many different pieces of work. These programs have been drawn from the DARPA Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation Budget Request for FY 2016.

As we can see in Table 1, spending rises from approximately $97 million in FY 2014, to the $164 million that DARPA forecasts in FY 2016. This represents a projected 69% increase over the course of three fiscal years.

Turning to the list of programs that includes both big data specific projects and those with a big data component (the gold lines in Table 2 below), we can see that the trend is the same – spending at DARPA on big data related R&D is on the rise. The increase is a more modest 21% from FY 2014 to FY 2016, but this is still a positive return in an overall declining DoD technology market.

Summing up, the DoD’s spending on big data, particularly on R&D, is rising. Because money is flowing to R&D efforts, the fact that the work is related to big data may be hidden in general project descriptions. The best thing to do when searching for big data related work is to seek out complexity. Where agencies like DARPA are conducting R&D work on complex systems, the integration of massive volumes of sensor data, the development of advanced algorithms for controlling unmanned systems, and/or fusing large data sets into common pictures, that is where you’ll find big data related spending.


Navy FY 2016 Discretionary and IT Budget Request Snapshot

In Februrary, the White House released its fiscal year (FY) 2016 budget request, including agency discretionary and information technology (IT) budget submissions. However, as is often the case in recent years, we had to wait until March before we got full detail on the DoD and component IT budget numbers, like the Navy. Not that the data is released, what do the numbers tell us?

Total Discretionary Funding

The FY 2016 federal budget provides the Navy with $161B in base discretionary funding, an increase of $11.8B (+7.9%) from the FY 2015 enacted level, coming in second behind the Air Force in base budget increases. The budget also includes $7B in total Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding, a reduction of $2.6B (-27%) from FY 2015, which is second in cuts behind the Army.

Discretionary funding highlights include:

  • $44.3B in in base funding for Procurement, up $3.4B (8%) from FY 2015 enacted level of $40.9.
  • $50B in base funding for Operations and Maintenance (O&M), an increase of $4.7B (+10.5%) from the FY 2015 enacted level of $45.3B.
  • $17.9B in base funding for Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation (RDT&E), up $2.1B (+13%) from the FY 2015 enacted level of $15.8B.

Navy Total IT and New Development Budgets

The Navy is requesting a combined $6.5B for IT in FY 2016 IT, a 3.8% increase from the $6.2B enacted level in FY 2015, but 1.2% below the FY 2014 level of $6.6B. The $240M increase from FY 2015 to FY 2016 is the largest dollar increase across the four DoD components. Further, Navy IT Operations and Maintenance (O&M) funding in FY 2016 increases $237M, or 4.5%, from FY 2015 and increases $48M, or 0.9%, from FY 2014. However, the Navy’s IT Development, Modernization, and Enhancement (DME) funding in FY 2016 increases just $2.7M, or 0.3%, from FY 2015, and is a decrease of $127M, or 11.4%, from FY 2014. Among the four defense components, Navy’s marked shift from DME to O&M stands apart from the other branches. Navy’s DME as a percentage of total IT declines 1% per year over these three years from 17% to 15%. (See table below.)

Noteworthy IT Programs

Delving further into the Navy’s IT budget investments and initiatives provides some vision into their current priorities and future direction. Here are a few initiatives that stand out among others due to relative size, budget growth, and/or proportion of new development spending.

IT funding highlights include:

  • Next Generation Enterprise Network (NGEN) – Provides secure net-centric data and services to Navy/Marine personnel. At $1.4B this is the largest single Navy IT investments for FY 2016 and receives a 3.6% increase from FY 2015 and has 0.2% DME funding.
  • Base Communications Office (BCO) – Supports voice and data communications and video teleconferencing (VTC), etc. BCO receives a 26.5% budget increase to $222M in FY 2016, of which 0.5% is DME.
  • Multifunctional Information Distribution System – A rapid communications, navigation and identification system for tactical and C2 operations, this investment receives $107M (+12.9%) for FY 2016, of which nearly 75% is DME.
  • Core Services Architecture (CSA) – Provides the Hosting Shell of all network, server, and storage hardware and provides a management environment for production development and test systems. At $93M (+10.6%) for FY 2016, this investment is 100% O&M funding.
  • Joint Precision Approach and Landing System – A GPS based, rapidly deployable approach and landing capability, this $91M investment receives a 18.4% increase for FY 2016 and is 100% DME funding.

After experiencing both a the total discretionary and IT budget reduction from FY 2014 to FY 2015, The Navy’s discretionary and  IT budgets for FY 2016 have rebounded to near FY 2014 levels. Yet, the ongoing shift in Navy IT to predominantly O&M spending continues to point to an agency that is economizing and scrutinizing new IT investments, which could challenge companies looking to introduce new technologies or win new business.

Originally published for Federal Industry Analysis: Analysts Perspectives Blog. Stay ahead of the competition by discovering more about 
GovWin FIA. Follow me on Twitter @GovWinSlye.


Room for Expansion across Agency Shared Services Adoption

A recent survey of federal agency leadership explored drivers behind the uneven adoption of shared services for acquisition, human resources, and information technology. Delving into agency business cases sheds light on which agencies are leading the way with transitioning major information technology efforts to shared service environments. 

Survey Summary

In March 2015, the Partnership for Public Service and Deloitte released findings from a survey on shared services progress. Researchers interviewed CFOs and leaders from 18 of CFO agencies to take stock of federal shared services including the attitudes and efforts underway across acquisition, human resources (HR), and information technology (IT). The respondents offered varying perspectives on government buying. Some viewed agencies as independent service providers, which may lend a competitive aspect to shared service arrangements. Others are inclined to see government as a single purchaser, which contributes to a more collaborative environment. Over half of respondents (55%) indicated that terminating or transitioning services was difficult. 28% suggested it was a moderate challenge, and 17% said it was easy. Survey respondents identified primary objectives for adopting or expanding shared service use. The top drivers included cost savings (78%), mission delivery (67%), customer service (56%), and cost avoidance (50%).


The survey findings stopped short of offering assessing the status of each of the agencies. However, agency budget materials provide some insight for plans related to shared services. 

Observations from IT business cases

According to the Office of Management and Budget’s exhibit of business cases for major IT investments, federal agencies identified 738 major efforts totaling $43,609.1 million in their FY2016 budget request submissions. Of these investments, 383 include current or planned shared service spending, nearly 52% of those major IT efforts. 

Across the Department of Defense’s 124 major investments, 41 include current or planned efforts for shared services. Total funding associated with these efforts totals over $7.3 billion. Due the nature of the data reported, it is unclear what portion of those resources will be directed toward shared services. Of the major investments planned Defense-wide, 58% involve shared services. Across the Army’s 31 major efforts, 23% have current or planned shared service elements.  19%of the Air Force’s 31 major investments include shared services, and 16% of the 19 major IT projects for the Navy and Marine Corps do as well.

Analysis of the major investments across civilian agencies highlights the range of adoption progress across organizations. By the level of spending associated with those investments, the top five civilian agencies for shared services are Veterans Affairs, Homeland Security, Health and Human Services, the Department of Commerce, and the Department of Agriculture. 79% of the 24 major investments at the Department of Veterans Affairs include current or planned spending on shared services. At the Department of Homeland Security, 66% of 89 major investments involved shared services. Within Health and Human Services, 60% of 94 major efforts include shared services components. 72% of the 23 major investments detailed for the Department of Commerce have shared service elements. The Department of Agriculture reported on 24 major IT efforts, 83% of which include shared services.  Total funding associated with these major investments across the top five agencies combines to roughly $12,070 million. As with the Defense Department, the portion of each fund intended for shared services is not specified.

Take Away


Agencies are approaching shared services as a means to increase operational and cost efficiencies. In some cases, concerns about mission delivery contribute to some reluctance to relinquish program control.  In others, the ability to standardize and ensure consistency of services is helping shared services gain traction. Additionally, agency leaders are working to resolve uncertainty about specific benefits and costs associated with the move to shared services in order to decide if it’s right for a particular organization. Given the varied landscape of mission and program requirements across the government, it’s hardly surprising that there’s a range of positions and approaches in play for how shared services are being implemented. 


Originally published for Federal Industry Analysis: Analysts Perspectives Blog. Stay ahead of the competition by discovering more about GovWinIQ. Follow me on twitter @FIAGovWin.

2020 Census Needs Investment in Enabling Technology and Infrastructure Requirements

Preparations for the 2020 Decennial Census are a key factor shaping the Census Bureau’s budget. Plans for the 2020 Census aim to drive cost efficiencies by leveraging lessons learned and improving census procedures. FY2015 marked the launch of the second phase of R&D for the effort, which aims to overhaul the census process and achieve dramatic cost savings through technology implementation and process updates. A recent review of the Census Bureau’s plans highlights technology hurdles that may provide business opportunities for contractors. 

The Census Bureau approach to the 2020 Census intends to complete the survey for the same or less cost than 2010. So far, the efforts have encountered a number of planning hurdles, in particular challenges producing reliable schedules and cost inaccuracies. Insufficiently resolved issues underlying these problems will continues to be plague progress as work moves along with the second phase of research, testing, and operational development. The bureau’s FY 2016 discretionary budget request included $1.5 billion to support research, development, and implementation of the 2020 Census. The bureau’s information technology budget has $199 million slated for undertakings at this phase, an increase of 169% over FY 2015 enacted levels. Further, all of the FY 2016 funds are expected to support development, modification, and enhancement activities. All in all, just over 91% of the FY 2016 investment is potentially contractor addressable (based on the portion of resources that provides associated government personnel). 

Among other activities, these funds are intended to help roll out an internet response option for collecting enumeration data. In order to provide an option for collecting self-responses from households via the internet, the Census Bureau needs to make a number of investments. These enabling capabilities include designing and developing an application for internet response, developing and acquiring IT infrastructure to support the large volume of data processing and storage, and planning communication and outreach strategies to facilitate households’ submission of responses via the internet. Preliminary cost estimates for the internet response were calculated at $73 million, but these figures were deemed unreliable for not conforming to best practices. Issues included not updating the estimates to reflect changes related to the option that occurred since 2011. Another snag is the lack of time frames for decisions around implementation of cloud computing solutions. As a result of these problems, additional concerns are being raised about the estimated cost savings that is expected to result from these efforts. With field tests for various components anticipated during the fall of 2015, addressing these underlying complications will be necessary in order for the program to continue on schedule.

Originally published for Federal Industry Analysis: Analysts Perspectives Blog. Stay ahead of the competition by discovering more about GovWinIQ. Follow me on twitter @FIAGovWin.


Social Security Administration FY 2016 Discretionary and IT Budget Request Snapshot

Last month the White House released its fiscal year (FY) 2016 budget request and most federal departments and agencies saw notable increases in their overall discretionary and information technology (IT) budget submissions. The Social Security Administration is included in this category.

Total Discretionary Funding

The FY 2016 federal budget provides the Social Security Administration (SSA) with $12.7B in discretionary funds for FY 2016, $732M (+6.1%) above the 2015 enacted level. The FY 2016 SSA budget proposes to repeal the discretionary cap adjustments for SSA – enacted in Gramm-Rudman and amended by the Budget Control Act (BCA) – and instead shift SSA funding to mandatory funding beginning in FY 2017. (This follows an observable trend in the federal budget over the last 5+ years of shifting some discretionary spending to mandatory spending.)

Discretionary funding highlights include:

  • $101M in new budget authority to support extramural research projects to continue to test changes to the disability programs to improve program administration and reduce program dependency. Projects cover areas of disability policy research, employment support programs, retirement policy research, financial literacy and education, and evaluations of proposed or newly enacted legislation.
  • $50M for early intervention demonstrations in FY 2016, as well as a $350 million legislative proposal for mandatory funding in FYs 2017-2020 for strategies to help people with disabilities to remain in the workforce.

Social Security Administration Total IT and New Development Budgets

SSA seeks $1.7B (+6.7%) for FY 2016 IT spending, rebounding somewhat from the $271M (-15%) reduction in the FY 2015 enacted budget compared to FY 2014. Similarly, SSA is seeking to shift a slightly larger portion of their IT budget in FY 2016 to Development/Modernization/Enhancement (DME) efforts over steady state (SS) or operations and maintenance (O&M) funding categories, a bit of a reversal in course over the last few years. SSA’s $705M of total DME funds increases $118M from FY 2015 and accounts for about 42% of the total FY 2016 IT budget, compared with 38% and 37% in FY 2014 and FY 2015 respectively. (See table below.)

Noteworthy IT Programs

Looking at the specifics of SSA’s IT investments and initiatives provides insight into the agency’s immediate priorities and future direction. Here are some initiatives that stand out among others due to relative size, budget growth, and/or proportion of new development spending.

IT funding highlights include:

  • Non-Major Infrastructure DME – The second largest IT budget line at SSA, this initiative focuses on infrastructure DME costs for data center, office automation and telecommunications efforts. Of the $278.4M allocated for this investment, 275.5M (99%) is DME.
  • Non-Major IT Security Initiatives — This initiative implements security policies and controls within SSA IT and protects IT data resources from both internal and external user threats such as unauthorized access, misuse, damage, or loss. At $68.5M for FY 2016, the initiative is third among SSA’s largest IT budget lines and sees one of the largest overall budget increases of $15.2M (+28.6%). DME funding is set at $42.7M, or 62%.
  • Disability Case Processing System (DCPS) – DCPS replaces the 54 disparate DDS systems, support and maintenance processes with a common case-processing system to deliver common functionality and consistent support to each DDS. DCPS receives $55.0M in DME funds, which accounts for 92% of the total $60M budget, which ranks is fourth in size among SSA IT investments.
  • Intelligent Disability – This eighth-largest SSA IT budget line focuses on three main IT efforts: provide linkage between Electronic Disability Folder and SSA modernized systems and strategic goals, assist in reducing hearing office backlogs, and improve speed and quality of the disability process. The program receives $34.8M for FY 2016, up $6.6M (+23%) from FY 2015. DME is set at $29.1M or 84%.
  • Earnings Redesign – This initiative intends to streamline and modernize the current systems in order to ensure that records of earnings are timely and accurate. At $31.6M, this initiative receives one of the largest total budget and DME increases for FY 2016, $10.6M (+51%) and $10.1M (+58%) respectively.

After seeing the total discretionary and IT budgets drop from FY 2014 to FY 2015, SSA’s IT budget for FY 2016 has regained ground to FY 2014 levels, faster than overall discretionary spending. Further, SSA’s DME spending is rebounding faster than SSA’s total IT budget, signifying focused investment in high priority capabilities and systems that could present additional contracting opportunities.

Originally published for Federal Industry Analysis: Analysts Perspectives Blog. Stay ahead of the competition by discovering more about 
GovWin FIA. Follow me on Twitter @GovWinSlye.

DISA FY 2016 IT Budget Snapshot

Last week’s post took a look at Defense Working Capital Fund dollars that the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) anticipates Defense customers will spend with it in Fiscal Year 2016. This week’s post examines the formal portions of the information technology budget that DISA anticipates it will have in FY 2016, including funding it has requested for operations and maintenance, procurement, and research, development, modernization, and enhancement. The programs on which DISA forecasts spending the most under each category in FY 2016 will also be examined.

For its total IT budget in FY 2016, DISA has requested $3 billion.  This funding breaks out as follows:

Not surprisingly, the highest number of forecast dollars can be found in DISA’s Revolving and Management Funds account.  This account is where Defense Working Capital Fund spending is located, which is why it was the focus of last week’s post.  This week’s focus is on spending in the other three categories, beginning with operations and maintenance.

Breaking down O&M, we can see that not all of the programs receiving O&M funding are “programs,” per se. The White House Communications Agency (WHCA), for example, is part of the DISA organization.  The Defense Information Systems Network (DISN) is where much work related to Joint Information Environment is taking place, primarily, but not exclusively, under the GIG Services Management –Operations (GSM-O) and GIG Services Management – Engineering, Transition, and Implementation (GSM-ETI) contracts.  Spending on DoD mobility programs comes in at the far right of the spectrum, with $23 million in spending anticipated.

Moving to procurement, we see that new dollars for tech refreshment and other acquisitions are going into the DISN, SATCOM, and other transport-network related programs.  DISN investments focus primarily on the procurement of network switching (MPLS) and optical network equipment related to engineering the JIE.

DISA anticipates spending $0 on DoD mobility procurement in FY 2016.

This brings us to RDT&E funding, of which DISA has requested very little. There are no surprises here. The Joint Interoperability Test Command (JITC) receives most of the funding in this category. Some funding here goes to the DoD Mobility program for “tech insertion and the deployment of two Device Mobile Classified Capability (DMCC) gateways OCONUS which will include Top Secret (TS) and Secret capabilities in the Pacific and Southwest Asia.” Funding for the DISN will focus on the purchasing and testing of “optical and IP routers, switches, and Communications Security equipment” related to the upgrading of DISA’s optical network.

In conclusion, this snapshot of the FY 2016 DISA budget shows that engineering the DISN to provide the backbone for the Joint Information Environment will remain DISA’s highest priority in FY 2016, with funding spread out in all categories of IT spending – O&M, Procurement, and RDT&E.  DISA’s FY 2016 spending will remain heavy on communications and network equipment, with DISA personnel and service contractors already in place providing the support required to install and configure the equipment for the agency.


State and USAID FY 2016 Discretionary and IT Budget Request Snapshot

Last month the White House released its fiscal year (FY) 2016 budget request and most federal departments and agencies saw notable increases in their overall discretionary and information technology (IT) budgets. The Department of State and the U.S. Agency for of International Development (USAID) were no exception.

Total Discretionary Funding

The Department of State and the USAID are slated to receive $43.2B in base discretionary funding for FY 2016, which is $6.2B (+16%) higher than FY 2015. The budget requests an additional $7.0B in Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding.

Discretionary funding highlights include:

  • $3.5B to counter the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and respond to the crisis in Syria, bolster regional security, and provide for related humanitarian needs
  • $1B to address the root causes of migration from Central America, including the migration of unaccompanied children
  • $5.4B for international organizations and peacekeeping missions to share global security responsibilities with other nations and respond to new peacekeeping requirements
  • $4.8B to support security requirements and overseas infrastructure to support the people, infrastructure, and programs that enable U.S. operations and relations with foreign governments
  • $190.5M for the Global Development Lab and the Bureau of Policy, Planning, and Learning at USAID to develop solutions and accelerate the transformation of U.S. development efforts

State and USAID Total IT and New Development Budgets

The State Department and USAID seek $1.6B (+15.4%) and $165.5M (+15.1%) respectively for FY 2016 IT. However, both agencies continue to focus their budgets on steady state or operations and maintenance (O&M) funding categories over Development/Modernization/Enhancement (DME) efforts. State’s $140.4M of total agency DME funds increases $3M from FY 2015, but these DME funds account for about 9% of the total FY 2016 IT budget, which is pretty consistent with the previous two years. USAID’s DME is $28.5M which is 17% of the total proposed budget for FY 2016. This proportion has declined from 22% and 20% in FY 2014 and FY 2015 respectively. (See table below.)


Noteworthy IT Programs

Looking at the specifics of both State’s and USAID’s IT investments and initiatives gives some deeper understanding.  Here are some initiatives that stand out among others due to relative size, budget growth, and/or proportion of new development spending.

IT Funding Highlights

  • Bureau IT Support – At $230M (+13.1%), this investment encompasses centrally provided shared IT support services such as desktop services; telecomm, wireless & data services; peripherals; software; and any other IT infrastructure costs incurred by the bureaus.
  • CA Enterprise Management Services – Receiving $145M (+106%), this initiative consists of strategic planning and portfolio management, security, configuration control, quality management, training, deployment and communications for the CST portfolio as a whole.
  • CA Enterprise Operations – Increasing to 126.3M (+44%) for FY 2016, this investment consists of operations and maintenance, data center migration, applications and database services and service desk.
  • Legacy Consular Systems – Receiving $87.3M (+63%), this initiative supports a broad range of services systems, including Visa, ACS, Passport, Web, BI, AMS, CLASS, Fraud.
  • Steady State IT Infrastructure & Technology Modernization – USAID slates $57.4M (+2.5%) for its enterprise-wide IT infrastructure, communications, etc. 12% of this is DME funding.

New Development Funding

  • State – the two IT initiatives with the largest DME budgets are the Foreign Assistance Dashboard ($1.5M in DME, 100% of budget) and the ECA Program Management and Outreach System ($1.4M in DME, 11% of budget.)
  • USAID – Two programs with the largest DME budget are the Development Information Solution (DIS) portfolio management system ($8M in DME, 93% of budget) and the Steady State IT Infrastructure & Technology Modernization Program ($7.1M in DME, 12% of budget.)

After seeing its total IT budget remain flat at $1.4B from FY 2014 to FY 2015 the State Department IT budget for FY 2016 has jumped nearly $224M to over $1.6B. Similarly, USAID’s IT budget fell 4% from FY 2014 to FY 2015 but sees a $21.8M (+15%) jump in FY 2016 to regain ground. As noted above, overall DME spending at both State and USAID tend to run below those of most other federal agencies, so competition for O&M work on established programs may be fierce and challenging to penetrate. 

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