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Homeland Security Spending Spree

The big-spending Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is the most lucrative part of the Federal Government for vendors on the lookout for IT contracts, according to the latest research from analyst firm Input.

At a time when federal IT spending is on the rise, Homeland Security is fast emerging as Washingtons technology cash cow. Input reports that the Federal Government awarded more than $23 billion in IT-related contracts during the second quarter of 2004. This represents a 50 percent increase on the same period in 2003.

Although three of the top five spending departments in the Input report were Defense agencies, the DHS was responsible for nearly half of all major technology contracts, worth a total of $10.7 billion. This was followed by the Departments of the Army ($4.5 billion), Navy ($3.9 billion), Air Force ($1 billion), and the Department of Transportation ($900 million).

The results reflect a period of frenzied activity at the DHS. A month hardly seems to go by without officials unveiling yet another ambitious project. Last month, for example, the Department announced that a consortium led by Accenture had won the $10 billion contract for the new U.S. Visitor and Immigration Status Indication System (US Visit). Under the terms of the five-year contract, Accenture and its partners will develop a system to collect and share information, including biometric data, on foreign nationals.

Most of these new initiatives are likely to involve some pretty robust back-end IT systems. In late May, for example, the DHS signed an agreement with the European Union to collect airline passenger data and more recently unveiled its new Homeland Security Operations Center, which serves as the national nerve center for monitoring threats.

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