[ISN] Tech Contractors Cite Rising Demand

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Wed Dec 11 2002 - 00:21:51 PST

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    By Renae Merle
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Tuesday, December 10, 2002; Page E01 
    For more than a year, the region's technology contractors have been
    waiting in vain for the big boost in technology spending that was
    supposed to come from the government's new focus on homeland security.  
    Could the early stages of the boom be arriving?
    Yesterday, California-based Computer Sciences Corp., with 8,000 local
    employees, announced that it would be hiring 400 employees, mostly in
    the D.C. area, to satisfy an increase in demand for information
    technology security. "Since mid-summer, there has been a noticeable
    upturn in demand for information security-related services among our
    clients in the U.S. government and commercial sectors," said Joe
    Stafford, vice president of CSC's Global Information Security
    Meanwhile, Northrop Grumman Corp.'s information technology division
    plans to hire 400 to 500 employees in the next month and 4,000 next
    year. Fairfax-based STG Inc., which provides technology and
    engineering services, said it will add 700 jobs over the next three
    In September a subsidiary of computer reseller Micro Warehouse Inc.  
    opened offices in Ashburn, adding 40 employees to help it focus on
    government clients. The company will be adding 100 workers to that
    office over the next six months, officials said.
    "Any kind of hiring is good news right now," said Stephen S. Fuller, a
    public policy professor and regional economist with George Mason
    University. "This is just indicative of the strength of the local
    The increase in government spending expected after the Sept. 11, 2001,
    attacks has been slow to materialize despite President Bush's budget
    proposal, which called for spending on IT security to reach $4.2
    billion in fiscal 2003, compared with $2.7 billion this year. Overall,
    information technology spending would reach $52.4 billion, up from
    $47.8 billion, under the budget proposal.
    The delay in approving the next year's budget and the Office of
    Management and Budget's cautious approach to spending has translated
    into a disappointing year for many contractors, industry officials
    "People were looking for the windfall after 9/11 for this kind of
    activity, and it hasn't showed up to the degree that has been
    expected," Fuller said. But now some are beginning to report an
    increase in business, exemplified by CSC's hiring announcement. "It
    was slower to emerge but will last longer than had been anticipated,"  
    he added.
    Lagging spending from the private sector makes the anticipated public
    spending even more welcome. CSC's revenue in the commercial sector
    declined 8 percent during its second quarter, which ended in
    September, down to $959 million from more than $1 billion during the
    year-earlier period. In August, the firm asked 66,000 employees to
    volunteer to take extended leaves of absence -- for at least six
    months -- at 20 percent of their pay. Only a "relatively small portion
    of them did," according to a company spokesman.
    In addition, the firm reduced its workforce by 1,000 employees during
    the past year through attrition and layoffs, the spokesman said.
    But government work can be troubling, too. Earlier this year, CSC
    quibbled with San Diego County over its progress on a seven-year, $644
    million contract to provide all of the county's computer and telephone
    services. The country declared CSC in default after it didn't reach
    several contractual milestones and withheld a payment until a
    settlement was reached. "Since then things have been on track," a
    county spokesman said.
    Still, government contracting reflects the company's fastest growth
    sector. Revenue from government agencies increased 17 percent during
    the second quarter, to $772 million.
    And that doesn't include more than $200 million in contracts the
    company's Enforcement, Security and Intelligence unit won during the
    past three months, much of it with the intelligence community. Many of
    the new hires will work on those contracts and will need security
    clearances, a company spokesman said.
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