FY 2017 Federal Budget Snapshot: The Defense Information Systems Agency

Published: February 17, 2016

USAFARMYBudgetDEFENSEDISAForecasts and SpendingJoint Information Environment (JIE)

DISA’s budget in FY 2017 will total $9 billion, with $6.3 billion of this coming from the Defense Working Capital Fund, providing plenty of business opportunity for industry

The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) has been increasingly in the spotlight since the Department of Defense embarked on its multi-year program to build an interoperable, scalable, and secure Joint Information Environment. DISA works closely with all of the military departments, but particularly with the Army and Air Force, when it comes to implementing the JIE. DISA also provides IT transport services, telecommunications services, cloud services, cyber security services, acquisition support, and a plentitude of other services, to the defense community via the Defense Working Capital Fund. Recently, DISA has also assumed responsibility for defending DoD networks through the Joint Forces Headquarters-DoD Information Networks (JFHQ-DoDIN). In short, DISA has come to play a vital role in the day-to-day operation of DoD’s IT environment, making it worthwhile to take a look at the agency’s budget request for fiscal 2017.

The Fiscal Year 2017 Budget Request

The chart below shows the four major categories of DISA’s budget request for FY 2017.

As we can see, with the exception of Procurement, every other budget category has grown over the last three years. In FY 2017, the budget for Operations and Maintenance will rise by $176 million, Research, Development, Test & Evaluation, generally considered “new” money, will rise by $42 million, and Procurement will fall by $43 million. The largest category is the Defense Working Capital Fund, which is made up of funds appropriated by other parts of the DoD to DISA for services the agency provides. The column here shows the total amount of planned DWCF appropriations for DISA’s Computing, Telecom, and Acquisition Services. DoD appropriations for these services will rise by $99 million in FY 2017.

Importance of the Defense Working Capital Fund

Growth in the DWCF indicate strongly that the rest of the DoD’s reliance on DISA for IT services is rising. This fact is reflective of broader trends within the DoD toward the Joint Information Environment, cloud services, and common enterprise services like Defense Enterprise Email and Global Content Delivery Services.
Concerning computing services (i.e., milCloud, Defense Enterprise Computing Centers, etc.) in particular, the composition of appropriations works out as follows.

The Army and Air Force remain the heaviest users of these services, as has been the case for several years. However, Army’s total appropriations will decline slightly in FY 2017 to $119 million. Air Force’s appropriations will rise slightly to $114 million. Otherwise, little else changes. The Navy, including the Marines, continue appropriating the lowest amounts for DISA services, totaling $50 million between them in
FY 2017.

The picture alters somewhat for telecommunications and acquisition support services. Army still leads the way with more than $1.7 billion in appropriations, followed by the DISA components themselves with just under $1.7 billion. Air Force comes in next with slightly more than $1.1 billion, followed by Navy at $560 million.


Organizations across the DoD will appropriate $6.3 billion overall for DISA’s IT and acquisition services in FY 2017, a total equal to 21% of the DoD’s entire IT budget request of $30.3 billion. These dollars spent with DISA are dollars not spent elsewhere on many services provided by vendors. Industry partners working at DISA provide invaluable technical and other expertise to DISA’s operations, so at least some of the appropriated money in the DWCF flows to them. Finally, DISA is consolidating as many of its acquisition channels as possible into the pending ENCORE III and SETI contract vehicles, so earning a piece of the DWCF pie probably means winning a spot on these vehicles.