3 opportunities in the president’s budget

Tom O'KeefeBy Tom O’Keefe, consultant

We all know the administration recently released its FY19 budget request. Despite the fact that the president’s budget is effectively dead on arrival, particularly with Congress reaching a budget deal for the remainder of FY18 and FY19, there still may be some worthwhile pieces of information to be gleaned from it. (It should be noted this budget deal does not mean agencies received appropriations, and we’re still operating under a continuing resolution through March 23.)

While the priorities of Congress and the administration won’t always line up, there are places where there may be a general level of agreement on what spending might look like for the next year and a half.

Before highlighting some specific agencies, one thing worth noting is the FY19 budget requests funding the MGT Act’s modernization fund to the tune of $210 million. Hopefully, there will be broad Congressional support to ensure this level of funding or something similar makes its way into the appropriations put together by Congress.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

Definitely expect DHS to be a continued area of emphasis for the administration moving forward. An uptick in spending along the Southwest border should certainly be expected, with U.S. Customs and Border Protection receiving additional funding for more personnel and more sensors and border security technology. Also, expect near across the board increases in cybersecurity spending for almost every component, meaning that DHS should yet again be a target for technology vendors who specialize in cybersecurity.

Department of Commerce

Commerce is roughly a tale of two departments. The Bureau of the Census received a significant increase of over $2 billion in spending for FY19, a portion of which is laying the groundwork for the 2020 decennial census. There’s a significant amount of technology spending in that increase, but Census is already awarding contracts to the integrators and resellers that will be providing that technology. Make sure you’re reaching out to awarded vendors to see if your technology can become part of the package to make the 2020 census successful. On the other hand, the administration wants to cut the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) significantly. However, NIST isn’t a major procurer of technology, rather a testbed, so this shouldn’t too dramatically impact your sales environment at Commerce.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

We’re seeing a large increase at the VA as well, almost all of which can be directly attributed to a request of $1.2 billion to fund the initial stages of the new electronic health records contract with Cerner. While half of the request will go directly to Cerner, there’s a large portion of dollars available for infrastructure and network modernization to ensure interoperability with Department of Defense networks for the contract. If you’re an infrastructure vendor, there’s definitely an opportunity at the department moving forward.

While the overall attempt by the administration to cut civilian spending has been blunted by the deal that Congress has reached to fund the government for FY18 and FY19, you can still look toward some of the outlines put forth in budget requests to craft your messaging and align with agency priorities.

To hear more analysis on the president’s budget, listen to Nextgov’s interview with my colleague, Chris Wiedemann. And for even more guidance on selling IT to the public sector, reach out to immixGroup’s Market Intelligence organization

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About Tomas O'Keefe
Tom O'Keefe has over 7 years of market research experience as an Analyst and Consultant in the federal space. He also earned an MA in Political Science from George Mason University. He has covered both civilian and defense agencies and has presented to clients ranging from junior-level associates to executives from some of the largest Systems Integrators and contractors in the federal marketplace.

One Response to 3 opportunities in the president’s budget

  1. April says:

    Thank You for taking your time to share this insightful information.

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