Mission Objectives Will Drive DHS IT Spending to Grow Through 2021

Published: June 29, 2016

Forecasts and SpendingDHS

After several years of fiscal and other challenges that have produced anemic information technology growth prospects the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) looks to have again turned the corner to the positive.

Deltek’s new federal IT forecast to be released this week estimates that spending by DHS on contracted IT goods and services will climb from $6.5 billion in FY 2016 to $7.4 billion in FY 2021 reflecting a 2.5% compound annual growth rate (CAGR). Deltek’s forecast projects increased spending on software, modest gains in hardware and IT services, and comparatively flat spending on communications and network services over the forecast period.

The high priority and diverse missions across DHS and its components continues to be a major demand driver and the nature of several of their component missions requires significant technological advancements to expand their capabilities and maximize their effectiveness.

Fiscal realities over the last 5 years have put pressure on DHS to trim excess spending and increase IT efficiency through greater enterprise IT management. Distributed missions and workforces continues to sustain the need for specific agency infrastructure with consistent investments in bureau IT infrastructure at components like CPB, CIS, and TSA. Agile and rapid DevOps methodologies and environments are applied to reduce development time and costs and improve outcomes. IT-as-a-Service and other efficiency efforts drive economies. Open source versus proprietary solutions. Parallel worlds of supporting infrastructure while trying to reduce its overhead and obsolescence reveals the challenge at hand. 

DHS and its National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) continues to take a lead role for cybersecurity for federal civilian agencies. Ongoing initiatives include network security, continuous monitoring (CDM), incident response and assistance, and government-wide security policy implementation. DHS continues to suffer from contrasting mission priorities, high turnover and vacancies of key positions. However, the complexity of systems, continued threats, and incremental progress in key programs like CDM will keep cybersecurity as a major funding area.

The department has been an early adopter and a major user of cloud computing solutions, approaches, architectures and shared services among civilian agencies, primarily driven by the promise of savings and IT management gains. Aggressive consideration of cloud adoption strategies is central to efforts to reduce costs, gain efficiencies, and improve speed.

DHS has been working to enable data-driven decisions through data analytics, workflow processes and knowledge-based technologies as part of its enterprise service delivery goals. DHS tends to buy big data solutions open market competitions or through GSA Schedule IT 70. They also have awarded more than a third of their big data related contract obligations to small businesses, with a heavy emphasis on services procurements.

To improve effectiveness DHS continues to develop its mobile computing environment and strategies to enable end-to-end mobile solutions and enterprise mobile computing capabilities that support component missions. Finally, DHS will continue to drive tech innovation through the use of innovation incubators, grants, and other forms of industry collaboration to bring new tech to bear on the various DHS missions to increase interoperability, mobility, flexibility, and ultimate effectiveness.