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Federal Government Upped IT Spending 60 Percent in '04

  |  December 27, 2004   |  Comments

Department of Homeland of Security creation part of a surge in Fed's tech spending.

The U.S. Federal Government awarded $155 billion in IT-related program contracts in 2004, a 60 percent increase over the $95 billion it awarded in 2003, according to a report released by INPUT, a government spending watchdog.

The report analyzes the total contract value of over 1,100 IT-related program awards, spanning 15 product and service categories.

"The large increase in awarded dollars can be attributed to a handful of defense-related programs, as well as the emergence of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as a major player with its $10 billion US VISIT award," said Michael Boland, senior analyst of Federal Vendor Profiles at INPUT.

The goal of the US Visitor and Immigration Status Indication Technology System is to collect, maintain, and share information on foreign nationals, including biometric identifiers, such as inkless fingerprints, and eye and facial scans. It accounts for 82 percent of the program dollars awarded by the DHS this year.

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As in 2003, Army and Navy programs accounted for almost half of the total program contracts awarded by the federal government, this year approximately $70 billion.

The top three IT services categories for 2004, meanwhile, were professional services ($108.3 billion); network/telecom services ($19.2 billion); and research and development ($10.4 billion). Those three categories accounted 89 percent of all IT program contracts awarded in 2004, with $138 billion.

The report defined the leading category, professional services, as project management, quality assurance, planning and analysis, software development, education and training, engineering/scientific, consulting and design, operations support, and modeling/simulation.

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Although professional services accounted for the bulk of the infotech dollars awarded by the federal government, the research and development category grew the most, percentage-wise, in 2004.

"Research and development was the most striking category this year, in that it doubled year-over-year compared to 2003," Boland said. That increase was primarily due to the $4.6 billion Kinetic Energy Intercept Capabilities (KEI) program, an integral component of the Bush Administration's missile defense shield program.

Looking forward, the report suggests IT contracts awarded in 2005 will be approximately $114 billion. One initiative outlined by the U.S. government's Office of Management and Budget is to require all publicly accessible federal government Web sites to be fully searchable by the end of 2005.

Some sites like those for the National Archives and the Department of Defense visual information center already have implemented such search capabilities.

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