On March 4, President Obama released the top-line numbers for his budget request for fiscal year 2015, which begins October 1. The proposed budget maintains a commitment established by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014 to essentially freeze overall spending on federal agencies’ operations.
In acknowledgement of problems surrounding the initial rollout of the HealthCare.Gov website in 2013, the administration says it is committed to delivering smarter information technology (IT) services, shifting IT projects’ focus from compliance to delivering on intended impact and meeting user needs. The budget also includes investments to transform the government IT portfolio through cloud computing.
Records Management Impact
The president’s budget proposes to fund the operating expenses of the National Archives and Records Administration at $360 million for fiscal year 2015, which is $10 million below the amount appropriated in fiscal year 2014. Most federal agencies are operating with similar funding cuts despite their need to devote more resources toward upgrading their records management programs to comply with the November 2011 Presidential Memorandum on Managing Government Records.
In response to the memorandum, the director of the Office of Management and Budget and the archivist of the United States jointly issued in August 2012 the Managing Government Records Directive, creating a robust records management framework that agencies must implement to comply with statutes and regulations that stemmed from the memorandum. Federal agency managers are being asked to treat records management as an operational asset, which includes assigning resources to perform regular self-assessments of records management compliance and increasing federal records management policy training.
In an effort to achieve cost savings through increased efficiency, the president’s budget proposes to continue consolidating unnecessary federal data centers across the country. “Closing these facilities increases agency IT efficiencies, strengthens our cybersecurity posture and decreases the Government’s energy and real estate footprint,” the budget overview states.
By law, the president is required to submit a federal budget to Congress each year by the first Monday of February. However, the process of developing the baseline estimates that underpin the budget was delayed because the fiscal year 2014 budget and appropriations process was not completed until more than three months after the start of the fiscal year.