Proposals to develop antiterrorism technologies could exceed $11 billion in federal grants and boost the fortunes of companies in Silicon Valley, says the San Francisco Chronicle. The figure apparently was derived from bills pending in Congress that seek to improve security at the state and local levels with more sophisticated technology, including sensing devices and surveillance systems. The report came from Input, a Virginia business research group that tracks government grant programs for information technology.
The Chronicle says the proposals could be a huge opportunity for the technology industry, which has benefited from the growing interest in security after the Sept. 11 attacks. “We have had an increasing trend in homeland security grant programs,” said Suzy Haleen, an Input manager. “That $11 billion is only the start. There is even more out there.” Most of the funds would go to programs to prevent terrorists from seizing communications and other infrastructure and improve the ability of law enforcers to respond to an attack, including chemical and biological assaults. A House bill would set aside $7.45 billion over the next five years to improve rail and public transportation security. A bill in the Senate earmarks $3.5 billion over the next five years to boost border and port security, including improved systems for detecting radiation. It’s not clear how much of that money actually would be appropriated, but the federal government awarded $3.7 billion in homeland security grants related to information technology in fiscal 2004, according to Input.