The Marshall Plan comes to Iraq

Steve LeSueur

The prospect of helping to rebuild war-torn Iraq has set off a flurry of activity among U.S. companies angling for a piece of this historic and potentially lucrative effort. It's hard to put a precise figure on what's needed in the way of information technology, but industry officials expect a great demand for network, computer, communication and integration services.

For example, the providers of commercial satellite capacity and satellite services experienced a significant boost in business from rebuilding efforts in Afghanistan after the short conflict there, and some expect this scenario to play out again in Iraq.

But getting U.S. government contracts is tricky business. The U.S. Agency for International Development already has awarded four of nine planned contracts for the rebuilding effort. And bidding on all nine contracts is by invitation only. If you're not one of the invited companies, you're not going to be a prime.

Staff Writer Joab Jackson and Senior Editor Nick Wakeman talked to officials at USAID and the companies that are pursuing rebuilding opportunities to get a better grasp on what's needed and planned. The IT industry is optimistic.

"In post-battle Iraq, the opportunities will be awesome," said Louis Ray, president of Matcom International Corp. "I see this area as being a major growth area for our industry."

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