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[] USA: $59.1 Mrd. für IT zu Sicherheit und Homeland Defense geplant,

Tech security boost sought

By Aaron Davis
Mercury News
January 21, 2003

President Bush will ask Congress to boost federal spending on
information technology by $5 billion next year to continue fighting
terrorism and to begin combining the computer systems of 22 government
agencies under the Department of Homeland Security.

The government's technology budget would increase 12 percent from the
$52.6 billion proposed for this year to $59.1 billion for next fiscal
year, which begins Oct. 1. Of the total, spending on cybersecurity for
fiscal 2004 would hit $4.7 billion, or more than Congress approved
after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to federalize airport

Some of Silicon Valley's largest companies said Monday that government
contracts for those high-tech security tasks represent some of their
best chances for growth in the coming year.

``Government has always been a big, strong area for us and I would
only guess that would continue,'' said Jennifer Glass, spokeswoman for

The White House's budget director for information technology, Mark
Forman, unveiled next year's budget Monday at an Oracle conference in
San Diego.

>From 2002 to 2004, spending on computer security will increase 75
percent under Bush's plan.

Congress had previously boosted IT security spending from $2.7 billion
in 2002 to $4.2 billion in 2003, but most of that has yet to be seen
because Congress has so far passed just two of 13 appropriations bills
to distribute the money.

In addition, Bush signed a bill authorizing $903 million for Internet
and computer security research in November and some technology
companies have already begun hiring hundreds of workers to meet the
government's homeland security needs on the digital front.

``Any companies with long-term presence in the marketplace are in a
position to receive more'' in government contracts, said Mike
Dickerson, spokesman for El Segundo-based Computer Sciences, which
announced last month it would hire 400 employees to complete new
government IT contracts.

The $37 billion bulk of the IT budget will go to supporting government
agencies, including the Bush administration's goal that citizens be no
more than ``three clicks'' away at any time from finding government
services they need on the Internet.

Forman said Congress is likely to approve the technology budget by
late September, for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1.

``Everyone understands that IT is critical to the modernization of the
federal government,'' Forman said. ``This is not a partisan issue.''

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