Economic Stimulus Includes IT Upgrades at USAID

Buried in the $787 billion

passed by the House of Representatives Friday afternoon is $286 million for technology upgrades at the U.S. Agency for International Development.

According to the bill, $228 million has been set aside for "information technology security and upgrades to support mission-critical operation" to improve efficiencies and eliminate redundancies in backup information.

The bill also contains $58 million for "information technology modernization programs" and the "implementation" of USAID's automated procurement technology, dubbed the Global Acquisition System.

The legislation now heads to the Senate, where a close vote along party lines is expected sometime Friday evening. President Barack Obama is expected to sign the legislation shortly after congressional passage.

The inclusion of these funds could mean that USAID will be offering substantial information technology contracts in the very near future - the bill mandates that the USAID administrator submit a spending plan to congressional appropriators within 90 days, and that all funds be spent by Sept. 30, 2010.

So IT folks better start rolling up their sleeves if they want to get in on the action.

About the author

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    David Francis

    David is a Washington-based journalist and former Devex staffer who spearheaded Devex's "Obama's Foreign Aid Reform" blog. He has written for the Christian Science Monitor, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, SportsIllustrated.com, San Francisco Chronicle, Foreign Policy magazine, and the Washington Monthly. David holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago and a graduate degree from Georgetown University.