Commerce CIO’s Priorities: Cybersecurity, Efficiencies

July 1, 2011
FedCyber Wire, Spending
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via GovWin

Although his agency is responsible for a wide-ranging portfolio covering everything from tornado warnings to the decennial Census, Simon Szykman, Chief Information Officer at the Department of Commerce, was able to identify two common themes being addressed as department-wide priorities: cybersecurity and increasing IT efficiencies.

Prior to CIO Szykman’s remarks to an audience of government contracting IT professionals, Brian Haney, Senior Vice President, Deltek, delivered a high-level view of the Commerce Department’s IT spending. Haney noted that the lion’s share of the department’s IT budget for FY2012 was “steady-state,” though he identified opportunity areas for new IT spending for development, modernization and enhancement (DME) in the IT infrastructure for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), U.S. Census Bureau and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Overall, Haney projected a 0.1 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the next five years, noting that even a 0.1 percent rate can lead to significant opportunities in specific areas.

Commerce IT Investment

According to Szykman, the Department of Commerce’s IT spending is highly decentralized and federated across its 12 component bureaus, with the vast majority of the department’s IT spending occurring at the bureau-level, with the top three being the NOAA, Census Bureau and USPTO. Of the department’s FY 2012 IT budget request of $2.4 billion, 76% will go toward 45 major investments, including on the high end, $351 million toward ground stations for the NOAA’s GOES-R weather satellite, and on the low, $2.1 million for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s Spectrum Management System.

Notably, the CIO’s office has direct control over only 1% of the IT budget, or approximately $25 million.


Szykman says the department is on the “right trajectory” on improvements in cybersecurity across the 290 systems and applications it has outlined in its Federal Information System Management Act (FISMA) reporting. Currently, the department is working on a new IT security risk management framework, as well as incorporating more realtime situational awareness and automated, continuous monitoring. To support department-wide cybersecurity efforts, Commerce is increasing the visibility of cybersecurity to senior management by incorporating it into its Balanced Scorecard performance management process. Future initiatives, as laid out in their FY 2012 budget request, includes deploying continuous monitoring across the entire department.

Responding to an attendee question about turf battles over responsibility for cybersecurity, he stated his belief that collaboration between NIST, DOD, NSA, and other organizations has been “pretty successful.”

Continued here.