GEIA: IT civilian spending growth slows

It will be a lean year in fiscal 2006 for federal civilian agencies spending money on information technology with the growth rate forecast at only about 2.8 percent, according to the annual survey by the Government Electronics and Information Technology Association.

GEIA reported that the growth in civilian IT business from the federal government would be slowing even though it is still a large and vital market. The civil portion of the federal IT budget is expected to be $34.6 billion in fiscal 2006, and it is expected to grow to $39.6 billion by fiscal 2011.

“The squeeze on information technology budgets is forcing agencies to make some difficult choices,” said Mary Freeman, GEIA budget chairwoman and director of business development for Verizon Federal Markets.

Karen Evans, the Office of Management and Budget’s administrator for e-government and information technology, said the war on terror and hurricane relief would take precedence over IT spending in next year’s budget. Nevertheless, she said the Office of Management and Budget is moving ahead with its plans for greater consolidation and governmentwide projects that can be used by more than one agency.

Highlights from GEIA’s report:

- Hurricane Katrina recovery will likely result in additional IT dollars for the Homeland Security Department and a reshuffling of how the dollars are spent.

- About $1billion of the DHS budget request for fiscal 2006 is for the ongoing electronic baggage-screening program.

- The Department of Health and Human Services is uncertain about what funds would be available for health IT initiatives.

- Overall Justice Department budget is not growing at the rate of inflation. The FBI has at least 35 percent of the Justice Department’s IT budget.

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