What you need to know about Trump’s plan for government
January 25, 2017 Leave a comment
By Chris Wiedemann, consultant
Trying to read the tea leaves on the Trump administration’s technology priorities has been a challenge for all of us in the industry. But we got a little more clarity on how the new administration would like to manage the executive branch with a report last week outlining a new budget, including appropriations language that President Trump plans to submit in “mid to late April.”
While we haven’t seen the budget itself (and, as always, the appropriations committees will have significant input into the process), reading the Heritage Foundation report that Trump’s budget is purportedly based on reveals some potentially dramatic changes to executive agencies, particularly in the civilian sector. Those potential changes include:
- Lowering the Department of Energy’s funding for scientific computing and the Office of Nuclear Physics to FY08 levels, and directing the National Nuclear Security Administration to focus spending on weapon programs
- Eliminating a number of Department of Justice state and local grant programs, including Community Oriented Policing Services, various Office of Justice Programs and Violence Against Women Act grants
- Eliminating the International Trade Administration, the Economic Development Administration and Minority Business Development Agency at the Department of Commerce
- Phasing out the Federal Transit Administration at the Department of Transportation over a five-year period
The budget as a whole would lower federal spending by more than $10 trillion over the next 10 years, with most of the cuts coming from mandatory accounts (Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security) and non-defense discretionary spending.
From a technology standpoint, this would present a new set of challenges for both the tech industry and its government customers, particularly in agencies whose missions will shrink or vanish entirely. However, it’s not necessarily all doom and gloom. Aggressive spending cuts could force agencies to more fully adopt technology and automation in order to maintain mission delivery and service levels.
Again, this budget is very tentative and would have to move through both houses of Congress before being signed into any form of an actual appropriations law. That said, we often look to the president’s budget requests as an indicator of executive branch priorities, and the priorities shown here would reshape the executive branch and our industry in some significant ways.
We can at least assume the following:
- The Department of Homeland Security is likely to see more funding for (or at the least more focus on) immigration enforcement
- The Department of Defense’s CYBERCOM should see more emphasis on offensive cyber capabilities
- The Department of Health and Human Services will almost certainly receive less money for systems and offices supporting the Affordable Care Act
This is a good time to pay close attention to the appropriations process on the Hill and maintain ongoing conversations with your customers to stay ahead of any changes they see coming. It’s also worth it to reach out to lawmakers so they know how certain spending decisions will affect an industry that’s vital to the Washington, D.C., area economy. Keep reading the Government Sales Insider blog for updates. We’re going to keep close tabs on how the government IT industry will change in the next few years.