This IDC Government Insights Perspective is designed to provide readers with content and context for how current budget stalemates relate to and potentially impact U.S. federal information technology spending by giving them a foundational understanding of federal budget nomenclature and some of the current government spending issues. We do this by focusing on the current federal fiscal year — 2013. When this is used in combination with our Federal Spending and Line of Business Guides, vendors serving this market will have a better understanding of both the IT opportunity and how to adjust their market strategies and sales approaches in the context of issues facing federal IT buyers.
Anyone who reads the news these days is bound to see different numbers quoted as "official" U.S. federal budget statistics. This happens because people tend to talk about different parts of the federal budget in different ways, and it can be a real challenge to understand what the figures mean and what actually is being counted.
Fortunately, deeper insights into the budget process can be gained by understanding the difference between things like discretionary versus mandatory budgets, debt versus deficits, and sequestration versus budget caps.