Fed IT spending to increase, modestly

Emphasis on homeland security keeps information technology playing second fiddle. And their are other pressures keeping spending down.

According to an industry trade association, the federal government's spending on information technology is only going to moderately increase over the next five years, reports The Washington Post.

The Government Electronics and Information Technology Association, an association of government contractors including defense companies, information technology services providers and telecommunications companies, predicts federal IT spending will grow to $74.1 billion in current dollars in fiscal 2012 from $64.7 billion in 2007.

"The forecast going forward is moderate, but moderate with a caveat," said Payton Smith of Booz Allen Hamilton, who presented information on the overall information technology budget.

Some of the factors that will impact federal IT spending in the future are President Bush's continued emphasis on homeland security and non-IT related issues, the pressure on agencies to reduce the federal deficit by cutting back on IT budgets, and several procurement reform laws such as the Government Performance and Results Act, the 1996 Clinger-Cohen Act and the Federal Information Security Management Act.

IT growth areas, predicts GEITA, can be found in Health and Human Services, where spending will grow from $5.6 billion to $7.3 billion, and the Treasury Department, which will spend some IRS funds on homeland security-related projects, such as tracking terrorist funds. Natural and manmade disasters could also affect market opportunities, forcing affected agencies to reallocate their budgets.

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