Department of State and USAID FY 2015 IT Budget Request Snapshot

Published: March 26, 2014


With all the talk of budget priorities, increasing efficiencies, and improving program performance it is no wonder that the new FY 2015 federal IT budget comes in at a -2.9% decrease overall. Very few large departments and agencies got increases. The Department of State (DoS) is one. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) also sees a significant potential increase in its IT budget this year.

Among the 27 departments and agencies covered under OMB’s IT budget 14 got increases, 12 got cuts, and one remained unchanged. Yet, among the departments that have IT budgets equal or greater to that of the State Department, only Commerce, Treasury and Veterans Affairs received a higher percentage year-over-year increase than State. All others were either cut or received smaller gains.

State and USAID IT and New Development Budgets

The State Department and USAID are seeking $1.5B and $125.6M respectively for their FY 2015 IT budgets. State is requesting $32.5M (+2.3%) more for FY 2015 over its FY 2014 enacted IT budget. However, DME funding is set to decline $20M (-7.8%).USAID is requesting $8.7M (+7.5%) more for FY 2015 over its FY 2014 enacted IT budget. Yet, its portion that is designated as DME funding remains unchanged from FY 2014. (See table below.)

Noteworthy IT Programs . . . by the Numbers

  • Bureau IT Support – 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. At $253M for FY 2015, this is the single largest IT investment for DoS at 17% of its total budget. It also receives the second largest total budget increase of $25.2M (+12%) over FY 2014. DME makes up 5% of its budget.

  • Enterprise Planning, Management and Architecture Services – This program provides services that support enterprise-wide knowledge management, strategic planning, enterprise architecture, and project oversight and management at State. This item is the second largest investment in the FY 2015 DoS IT budget at $116M and it receives the largest year-to-year increase in total budget of $37M (+47%). The investment is 98% O&M and 2% DME funding.
  • Deployment, Maintenance, and Refresh Services – This initiative ensures domestic and overseas IT equipment is routinely updated, relocated, and/or replaced. Service includes procuring, deploying, and maintaining upgraded workstation/software packages, server, telecommunications, radio, and video collaboration. This third largest DoS IT initiative at $111M for FY 2015 is 66% DME funding. After a 15% budget increase from FY 2013 to FY 2014 this line item falls back down to its FY 2013 level.
  • Global Foreign Affairs Compensation System (GFACS) – GFACS replaces 8 legacy payroll and T&A systems with a single system that will support the diverse, global requirements for DoS and 40+ serviced agencies.  This investment has the distinction of receiving one of the largest dollar increases for FY 2015 of $7.6M (+34%) to reach $30M. It also receives one of the largest DME budget increases of $4.5M (+54%) to reach nearly $13M.
  • Steady State IT Infrastructure & Technology Modernization Program – This USAID initiative provides IT infrastructure maintenance and related support for local servers and desktops, network and corporate application servers in missions, worldwide telecommunications, local voice telephone services and cable processing. At 40% of the total agency IT budget, it is the largest USAID IT investment at $51M and receives one of the largest budget increases for FY 2015 of $9.6M (+23%). It also consists of $9.3M (18%) in DME funding due to a $1.8M (+23%) increase this year.
  • Phoenix - Financial Management System – Phoenix is USAID's single, worldwide accounting system, operational in headquarters and in missions overseas, that allows USAID staff to analyze, manage and report on foreign assistance funds. It receives a $2.2M (+23%) increase to $11.6M for FY 2015, $2.7M (23%) of which is new DME money.

Even with a modest 2.3% budget increase, the State Department is somewhat bucking the trend we are seeing with so many departments of a shift in the mix of money from new development DME spending to O&M, or steady state. With the $20 million decline State’s relative proportion of DME of 16% for FY 2015 is down from 18% last year, but it is essentially equal with its FY 2013 proportion. Yet, their IT budget for FY ’15 is 7% higher than FY 2013, so the 16% DME means that it’s somewhat keeping track relative to their overall IT spend. (USAID’s DME is flat amidst a 7.5% budget increase.) That’s not a huge plus, but given what we’re seeing at other agencies it’s a positive aspect to note.