Trend: U.S. states lure foreign homeland security businesses

Published 20 March 2006

Kenneth Mead served for nine years as the IG at DoT; he has a lot to say about transportation security

In the last twenty years or so it was not uncommon for states (that is, states in the United States) to send trade delegations to Japan, South Korea, and various European countries to persuade automakers there to locate their production plants in the United States. No we see states going abroad to persuade foreign homeland security companies to locate the facilities in the United States. Example: Gerald Gordon, president and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA), went to England to address the British House of Commons All Party Export Committee on the topic of doing business with the United States government. Gordon, who visits the United Kingdom regularly as part of the FCEDA’s global market outreach, is believed to be the first American to address the committee on this topic, and he will also submit a position paper on the topic. Fairfax, Virginia, is the only American county to have a London-based representative office.

In addressing members of Parliament and others, Gordon detailed the opportunities which exist for U.K. companies with innovative products and services — not only in homeland security — to expand into the American market by gaining government contracts with U.S. federal agencies. The federal budget now stands at $1.3 trillion, making it the largest buyer of services and goods in the world. Some 325 foreign-owned businesses — including nearly 50 from the United Kingdom — are already doing business in Fairfax County, not least because of the proximity to Washington, D.C. This proximity is also beneficial to U.S.-owned companies, as evidenced by the fact that eighteen of the top twenty-five federal prime contractors have facilities and offices in Fairfax County for their Washington-area operations. This proximity allows local businesses direct access to federal agencies and procurements, most notably those that are driving significant economic growth throughout the region: Defense and Homeland Security.

Gordon remarks: “The Washington, D.C. region, and especially Fairfax County, is home to companies that are becoming increasingly involved in federal contracting. The Defense Department will spend $30 billion in fiscal year 2007 on information technology purchases alone, while the Department of Homeland Security will spend $6 billion for IT services …. And, all federal procurements in fiscal 2007 will exceed $350 billion.”

-read more in this news release; see FCEDA Web site

MORE: In a forthcoming issue we will offer a portrait of U.K.-based — and Fairfax County-based — ANGLE Technology.