Zients Touts Flexible IT Budgeting Successes

Jeffrey Zients and Roger Baker; Photo: omb.gov, cio.gov

Office of Management and Budget Deputy Director Jeffrey Zients touted new IT budgeting strategies at the Department of Veterans Affairs at a roundtable on federal IT earlier this month.

Now, Zients, who is also the federal chief performance officer, says he would like to apply the two-year funding schedule to other federal agencies, which will allow money to be more easily redirected from failing projects to successful ones.

Most agencies operate on a one-year funding schedule, which often results in an end-of-the year rush to “use it, or lose it,” VA Chief Information Officer Roger Baker said.

“We avoid the rush a lot of other agencies have to spend dollars by the end of the year in a use-it-or-lose-it mode,” Baker told Federal Times.

Baker said the flexible budgeting, in particular being able to redirect funds, has saved his agency millions of dollars.

Zients plan for flexible IT budgeting calls for the implementation of 12 pilot projects similar to the strategies already in place at VA.

He has decried the “broken” IT acquisition process, often taking up to three years to prepare budgets, which is longer, Zients frequently notes, than it took Apple to roll out the iPhone.

However, changing agency budgeting requires more congressional oversight and greater transparency, Federal Times reports.

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