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US takes steps to reduce federal IT spend

The US federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has told the agencies that comprise the US Department of Homeland Security...

The US federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has told the agencies that comprise the US Department of Homeland Security to curb redundant spending.

The IT budget for Homeland Security is expected to grow from $360m (£229m) for the financial year 2002, which ends on 30 September, to $780m (£495) for 2003. The OMB has directed the department to cease temporarily all IT projects costing more than $500,000 (£318,000) and to identify any projects that are not on the OMB's expenditure list.

Homeland Security CIO Steven Cooper said that the OMB memo reflected a desire to direct IT spending towards emerging homeland security needs, not a desire to force federal CIOs into an IT cost-cutting spree.

Cooper said a group of federal CIOs and OMB officials have formed a committee to review IT proposals.

First on the agenda, according to Cooper, is creating an IT infrastructure for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

The review group will check to see what contracts are in place that the TSA can piggyback on, which data centres have excess capacity, and if any agencies have surplus workstations.

Cooper insisted that the recent scandal surrounding IT contracts in the state of California had not influenced federal government to add the extra layer of scrutiny, but he added that federal authorities should leave nothing to chance with the money they have.

The government expected save between $100m (£64m) and $200m (£127m) over the next two years if federal IT agencies avoid duplication in federal telecommunications-related contracts.

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