State Department and USAID FY 2019 IT Budget Request Observations

Published: March 08, 2018

USAIDBudgetInformation TechnologySTATE

The U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development have requested nearly $2.6B combined for information technology (IT).

A few weeks ago the White House released its fiscal year (FY) 2019 budget request and the Department of State (DoS) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) continue to experience yearly fluctuations in spending allotments for IT.

Department of State and USAID FY 2019 IT Budgets

The State Department’s FY 2019 IT budget request is $2.4B, a $143M (+6.3%) increase from FY 2018 and 8.8% above the FY 2017 level. USAID’s IT budget request is $154M, which is about half a million dollars more than FY 2017 but would be nearly $55M less than FY 2018. Given the impacts of multiple FY 2018 continuing resolutions (CRs) on agency budget preparations it may be more reasonable to compare the FY 2019 numbers to FY 2017 levels.

As a portion of their total IT budgets both DoS and USAID allot funding for new development spending, known as Development, Modernization and Enhancement (DME). State allots $353M for DME for FY 2019, which is less than FY 2018 estimate but 78% more than FY 2017. Conversely, at $26M USAID’s DME allotment is nearly 9% less than in FY 2017. (See table below.)

Noteworthy IT Programs

Looking deeper into the details of the State Department’s and USAID’s IT investment priorities and initiatives sheds light into where they are spending and potential growth opportunities. Here are just a handful of initiatives that stand out among others due to relative size, budget growth, and/or proportion of new development spending.

  • Bureau IT Support: As State’s largest single IT budget line 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. It receives $347M for FY 2019, which is 3% below FY 2017 and is made up of 23% DME.
  • Enterprise Infrastructure & Operations: At $317M for FY 2019 this DoS initiative provides 24-hour operational support, infrastructure management, hardware/software maintenance, technology refreshes, upgrades, technical services and training to support consular systems and services worldwide. It receives a 10% bump in total funds compared to FY 2017 and DME accounts for 40% of the FY 2019 funding request.
  • Security/Cyber Security Services: Provides operational security support to State Department IT assets and infrastructure, including encryption, secure voice and data communications, user privacy and security training. Funding of $157M for FY 2019 would be a 58% increase over FY 2017 and is entirely O&M.
  • Messaging Services, Email and Remote Connectivity: MSERC supports State-wide messaging, integrates technologies with messaging programs, and ensures messaging is accessible to the DoS and other federal agencies. The FY 2019 funding request of $126M is a 14% increase over FY 2017 and is 8% DME.
  • Consular Systems Modernization: CMS consolidates and modernizes DoS consular service systems to provide a modern framework to support increased integration of consular data & standardization of processes, improve system-wide global stability & security, and enhance service to customers. It receives $99M for FY 2019, which would be a 20% bump from FY 2017 and DME represents 67% of the total FY 2019 funding.
  • Network–AIDNET: This USAID initiative provides access to AIDNet as the primary operating network and is the strongest growing USAID initiative above $1M in size. The $20M request for FY 2019 would be a 61% increase over FY 2017 and 53% of the proposed funding is DME.
  • End User: This USAID program provides email, content creation and delivery, service desk, end user software, device management, mobile devices and end user hardware support that enable services and business capabilities. End User receives $16M in the FY 2019 budget of which 37% is DME and would be a 40% increase over FY 2017.

Most of State's largest IT budget lines are familiar multi-year initiatives, including Bureau IT Support, Enterprise Infrastructure & Operations, Consular Systems Modernization, and Security/Cyber Security Services. A perusal of these and other budget lines shows that their priorities are largely infrastructure-focused. However, there are pockets of new development and growth within infrastructure programs due to ongoing efforts to modernize IT infrastructure for mission support.