By the numbers

Construction of the universe was done in-house, but building the Ark was outsourced.

Nowadays, the federal government faces pressure to outsource more of its IT work chiefly because of a looming shortage of systems specialists and because that's the increasingly popular default policy.

Consultants at Input Inc. of Chantilly, Va., estimate that federal spending for IT outsourcing will increase from $6.3 billion in 2001 to $13.2 billion in 2002.

The General Accounting Office has put dimensions on so-called human capital, reporting that 30 percent of federal computer specialists, 38 percent of telecommunications specialists and 53 percent of program managers will be eligible to retire by fiscal 2006.

The retirement trend is largely driven by the graying of the federal IT work force: the National Academy of Public Administration reports that 70 percent of IT workers are older than 40 and 29 percent are over the age of 50.

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