Pockets of IT Opportunities in Commerce FY 2021 Budget Request

Published: March 12, 2020

Federal Market AnalysisArtificial Intelligence/Machine LearningBig DataBudgetDOCCybersecurityInformation Technology

The Department of Commerce requests $11.6B in FY 2021, a 64% decrease from FY 2020 due to the ramp down of the decennial survey. Nonetheless, the budget calls for increased funding in areas of IT modernization, cyber, and big data.

The FY 2021 budget decline at Commerce is steep, but explainable. With the 2020 Decennial Census ending by 2021, inflation of DOC’s budget due to the decadal event will cease. 

Including USPTO’s request for authority to spend fee collections, Commerce requests $11.6B in FY 2021, $7.4B below the $19B the department received in FY 2020. While the reduction largely correlates to the 2020 Census, the budget request also includes proposals to eliminate the Economic Development Administration (EDA) and Manufacturing Extension Partnership, for a savings of $426M. Moreover, the FY 2021 budget request again proposes reductions in NOAA grants and education programs for a decrease of $287M.

Despite this, DOC’s budget is overflowing with additional funding in areas of IT modernization, cyber, data and analytics and emerging technologies. For example, an additional $25M is requested at NIST to ensure AI technologies are interoperable, secure and reliable, doubling the agency’s current budget in AI. The following agencies throughout Commerce also outline IT opportunities for the federal department in FY 2021:

Departmental Management

FY 2021 sees the full establishment of the Office of Space Commerce at DOC. The discretionary budget requests an increase of $10.9M in FY 2021 to bring the office’s budget total to $15M. Space Commerce is poised to focus on various parts of the space commerce industry, including satellite navigation and commercial remote sensing.

Furthermore, Departmental Management is requesting an additional $17.1M for its Business Applications Solutions (BAS). The BAS program seeks to integrate a host of COTS administrative systems (i.e. financial management, acquisition, and property), enterprise data warehouse and business intelligence solutions, and system interfaces in a DOC-wide hosted environment.

Still, several increases under this division include investments in protecting the department’s assets with bolstered cyber efforts:

  • +$4.3M for an identity authentication process to ensure appropriate access to high-value agency assets
  • +$4M towards additional costs for Continuing Diagnostics and Mitigation (CDM) Phase 2 software licenses and Phase 1 software and hosting renewals
  • +$3.4M for the Office of Investigation and Threat Management Division to enhance capabilities in granting security clearances and safeguard classified, sensitive documents

Bureau of Census

The bureau requests a $5.8B decrease for the ramp down of the 2020 Census. These efforts include closing 248 Area Census Offices, decommissioning related devices and equipment, and transitioning 52 IT systems to a post-2020 Census state. Though a majority of 2020 Census efforts will be winding down, the Census budget reveals that the agency is ready to invest in data and analytics solutions to handle the influx of data expected by the decennial, and other Census, surveys.

  • +$22.2M for an enterprise data lake to modernize the data storage and analytical capabilities of the agency in a secure, high-performing storage and computing cloud environment
  • +$12.6M to realign and integrate full count data on persons, places and the economy, streamlined for use by all Census Bureau surveys and products
  • +$11.6M for the Center for Enterprise Dissemination Services and Consumer Innovation (CEDSCI) to deliver all products for the 2020 Census, American Community Survey, the Economic Census and other major programs throughout the agency
  • +$10.6M to boost the data collection functionality of the Data Ingest and Collection for the Enterprise (DICE) program

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

The USPTO has spent the last several years modernizing its primary patent and trademark systems, and FY 2021 will be no different. The agency seeks a $17.5M increase in IT infrastructure and IT support services, with a specific focus on the USPTO’s hardware refresh cycle in FY 2021. Moreover, the Commerce agency makes some of the largest requests for increases in DOC’s IT budget:

  • +$59M for the Patent End-to-End 3 (PE2E-3) System ($134.2M total)
  • +$24.8M for the USPTO End User investment ($65M total)
  • +$18.8M for the agency’s Data Center and Cloud ($83.6M total)

For more on the Commerce's and other agency FY 2021 Federal Budget Requests, refer to Deltek's FY 2021 Federal Budget Request: Priorities And Opportunities report.