White House Proposes $92 Billion IT Budget in FY 2021

The White House released a fiscal 2021 budget request on Feb. 10 that calls for $92.2 billion in funding for unclassified information technology projects, about a 5% increase above the $87.8 billion the Trump Administration requested for fiscal 2020 last March.

Federal civilian agencies would receive a combined $53.4 billion, while the Defense Department would receive $38.8 billion, according to the IT Analytical Perspectives chapter of the President’s Budget Request. The agencies receiving the largest IT spending boosts as a share of their budget include the departments of Veterans Affairs (27%), Energy (18%), State (16%) Health and Human Services (14%), and Education (14%).

Adopting cloud computing services, consolidating and optimizing data centers, modernizing federal telecommunications via the $50 billion Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions contract, investing in the federal IT workforce, implementing a shared services strategy, and funding investments in artificial intelligence (AI) are among the White House’s top IT policy priorities, according to the document.

The White House plans to boost the amount of funding available for AI-related research and development by federal agencies, according to the Analytical Perspectives chapter on the federal R&D budget. The National Science Foundation, for instance, requested more than $850 million in AI-related R&D funding, about a 70% increase above its fiscal 2020 request. The federal government is on track for about $5 billion in total AI investments in fiscal 2020, according to Bloomberg Government’s analysis.

Artificial intelligence is the Pentagon’s top IT modernization priority, Lt. Gen. Jack Shanahan, director of the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC), told members of the media on a conference call Monday. The Pentagon’s fiscal 2021 budget request would boost JAIC’s funding from $242 million to $290 million and allocate $449 million for AI-related projects at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), according to Shanahan.

The budget request also contains $18.8 billion to defend federal IT systems against cyberattacks, about an 8% increase above the $17.4 billion requested for cybersecurity in fiscal 2020. The Trump Administration’s top cybersecurity priorities include securing the federal supply chain, modernizing the Trusted Internet Connections (TIC) program to accommodate the shift to cloud computing, implementing advanced tools via the Continuous Diagnostics & Mitigation (CDM) program, and hiring more trained security professionals.

Bloomberg Government clients can click here for the latest in our ongoing coverage of the President’s Fiscal 2021 Budget Request.

Chris Cornillie is a federal market analyst with Bloomberg Government.

To contact the analyst on this story: Chris Cornillie in Washington at ccornillie@bgov.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Daniel Snyder at dsnyder@bgov.com; Jodie Morris at jmorris@bgov.com

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