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Tech

Parsing the federal budget: The tech highlights

President Bush unveiled his $3.1 trillion--yes trillion--fiscal 2009 budget and there are a lot of technology highlights to go around.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

President Bush unveiled his $3.1 trillion--yes trillion--fiscal 2009 budget and there are a lot of technology highlights to go around.

Whether this budget ever gets approved anywhere near its current state remains to be seen (fiscal 2008's budget isn't official), but directionally there are some key highlights. Among the items that may warrant further inspection.

The National Science Foundation is recommended to receive $397 million for nanotechnology research and facilities to understand "those devices and materials with revolutionary properties."

The budget also recommends that the NSF gets:

$1.1 billion for fundamental information technology research and cutting-edge supercomputing and networking resources, including: $100 million, an 110-percent increase, for an NSF-wide effort to develop radically new computational concepts and tools; and $30 million for a new targeted cyber-security research effort in privacy, fundamental theory, and usability.

Overall, the NSF's 2009 budget is an estimated $6.85 billion, up from $6 billion estimated for 2008.

The Department of Veteran Affairs is getting a major IT spending bump. The VA's IT spending was $1.2 billion in 2007 and is slated to jump to $1.98 billion in 2008. In fiscal 2009, the VA is slated for $2.44 billion.

NASA has a $1 billion fiscal 2009 budget for the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle, a piloted spacecraft to land anywhere on the Moon. Another $1 billion is for the Ares I Crew Launch Vehicle--the rocket that will launch Orion. NASA is expected to blow $5.1 billion on operating the International Space Station and flying the Space Shuttle to the station in 2009.

The Department of Commerce budget "provides $634 million for investments in quantum and neutron research, nanotechnology, and related scientific work at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, a 20-percent increase over the 2008 enacted level, excluding earmarks and unrequested grants."

And as previously noted, US-CERT is getting $242 million to better monitor cyberattacks.

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