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Feds Are Buying More Systems Through GSA Program

Market-intelligence firm Input says purchases of computer systems through the GSA's IT schedule amounts to more than 50% of all systems bought by the government.

For the first time, the federal government bought more than half its computer systems through a General Services Administration program, according to a report issued Tuesday by the government/IT market-intelligence firm Input.

IT equipment purchases on the GSA schedule have nearly doubled in four years, largely due to procurement reforms Congress enacted in the mid-1990s, according to an analysis by Input. "Procuring computer systems through the GSA IT schedule is increasingly becoming the norm for agencies due to the speed and ease of this acquisition vehicle," Input senior analyst Lauren Jones Shu says.

Federal spending on computer systems will increase at a compound annual growth rate of 8%, from $13.8 billion in fiscal year 2003 to more than $20 billion in fiscal 2008, Input projects.

Spending on computer systems is driven in part by the level of federal employment, which has increased slightly for the first time in a decade. "Homeland security initiatives are contributing to the increase in federal employment levels in the short term," Shu says. "However, the increasing rate of retirement eligibility among federal employees may mitigate some of those increases over the next five years."

According to Input, the top four agencies spending on computer systems are defense related: Office of the Secretary of Defense, $2.40 billion; Army, $1.43 billion; Air Force, $1.41 billion; and Navy, $1.02 billion. Among civilian departments, the biggest spender on computer systems are Energy, $845 million, and Homeland Security, $812 million.

Dell, at 17%, is the leading provider of computer systems to the federal government. Rounding out the top five, according to Input: Northrop Grumman, 8%; GTSI, 6%; IBM, 5%; and Hewlett-Packard, 4%.

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