Input: Fed IT spending up 3.9 percent in '09

The federal government's spending on information technology will increase a modest 3.9 percent overall in 2009 with greater growth expected to begin in 2010, according to a new report by Input.

"We will have a couple more years of probably the lowest growth, or among the lowest growth, we've seen in the history of IT spending," said Kevin Plexico, senior vice president of operations at the government analysis firm, based in Reston, Va.

"For most agencies it's going to be pretty much like we're in now, steady state activities will rule the day and it won't be until 2011 that we actually really have an opportunity for the new administration, with its leadership in place, to prepare a new budget reflecting their priorities."

We expect a bit more rapid growth in spending to start in 2010 and 2011, "getting more to the historical levels that we've seen" in the past, Plexico told the FedFocus 2009 gathering Tuesday.

The No. 1 priority for the new administration will be to address the financial crisis, Plexico said.

Citing President Bush's five management agenda points ? expanded electronic government, budget and performance integration, competitive sourcing, improved financial management and strategic management, and human capital ? Plexico said the next administration will not likely continue to pursue all five. "If you look at the competitive sourcing area, I think it's an area that is effectively dead on arrival in the new administration. It is very, very unpopular in the Democratic [controlled] Congress," he said.

"Strategic management and human capital is still very much a big issue in the government, so I think that issue is going to stay, as well as the budget and performance integration area," he added. "This particularly is going to be a challenge given the tight budgets that we're likely to see in the agencies that are maybe not in the mainstream."

Agencies that have typically gotten bipartisan support for funding, such as the Defense, Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs departments, "will be OK," Plexico said. But the agencies that are really under a lot of scrutiny for their budgets because they are not priority agencies are going to have much tighter budgets, and they're going to have much more scrutiny on budget and performance integration."

The VA budget will increase almost 10 percent over last year and the DHS will see a 6 percent increase. But Congress "effectively punished the [DHS] US-VISIT program for not providing some of the oversight reports it had requested previously by cutting its funding by $90 million for the coming year," Plexico said.

He said with no major single contract awards coming in 2009, contractors should position themselves to go after recompeted awards, task orders and multiple awards, the latter of which now accounts for about 30 percent of government contracting, he said.

About the Author

David Hubler is the former print managing editor for GCN and senior editor for Washington Technology. He is freelance writer living in Annandale, Va.

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