New homeland agency could spend $2.1B on IT

The new U.S. Department of Homeland Security is expected to increase government IT spending and provide some liability protections for vendors that sell homeland security-related products.

Input Inc., a Chantilly, Va.-based research firm, estimates the new department, created through a merger of 22 agencies with a budget of some US$37 billion, will spend at least $2.1 billion on IT this fiscal year.

The bill, passed in November by the U.S. Senate by a 90-9 vote, also includes liability protections for companies that sell what qualifies as anti-terrorism technology. This could include hardware and software, as well as integration services.

The legislation limits liability to the amount of insurance coverage carried by the seller and bars punitive damages. One of the qualifying conditions for the protection is showing that a technology won’t be deployed unless it has this liability protection.

Input said some of the areas the new department will be spending money on include biometric technologies, data mining and geospatial information systems.