A transitional approach for the 2018 budget request

OMB Director Shaun Donovan told agencies the Obama administration is preparing a budget database in preparation for the presidential transition in January.

Agencies are off the hook to submit a formal budget to the Office of Management and Budget by September. They also will be relieved of having to go through an OMB Director’s review or await the news from the annual passback memo.

But that doesn’t mean federal budget officers, CFOs and program managers will not have work to do to prepare for the fiscal 2018 budget request.

A new memo from OMB Director Shaun Donovan details some of the steps agencies need to take to develop a 2018 budget as they prepare for the Presidential transition coming in January.

“In order to lay the groundwork for the incoming administration, we intend to prepare a budget database that includes a complete current services baseline,” Donovan wrote to agency leaders. “OMB also plans to gather information necessary to develop current services program estimates for fiscal 2018, as well as other budget and programmatic information from which the incoming administration can develop its budget proposals.”

OMB says agencies should continue with their internal review efforts, including “constructing a complete baseline budget database by account for fiscals 2018 through 2027, as well as actual data for the prior year (PY) and estimates for the current year (CY), by the middle of December. You will be asked to complete the technical review of PY and CY data and to develop budget year and out year baseline estimates.”

Additionally, agencies should work with OMB to identify programs that may need more immediate action by the new administration. The Obama administration wants those details by September.

OMB also reminded agencies that the final update to Circular A-11 is expected by June and will detail new IT capital planning and investment control processes as well as a focus on empowering agency CIOs as required under the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA). This guidance follows a draft memo in the works that would tell agencies how to prepare to submit business cases to get some of the funding in the proposed $3.1 billion IT Modernization Fund. In that proposed guidance, OMB also would instruct agencies to include IT modernization funding in their annual budget requests to Congress.

“OMB expects to provide guidance during the transition on policy development for fiscal 2018 that will describe the process and timing for submitting agency requests, information required for analytical purposes, and other materials that will be used to prepare the incoming administration’s budget,” the memo stated.

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