The private sector may be driving new Internet of Things (IoT) technology, but a new study shows the US government is rapidly hopping on board.

An article by Nextgov reports that a new study by research analysis firm Govini revealed that federal agencies are rapidly boosting their spending on sensor-driven technology. In fiscal 2015, the federal government spent $8.8 billion on IoT, which represents a 20% jump from fiscal 2014.

Sensor spending specifically grew a considerable 56% from the previous year, while cloud storage for the data produced by those sensors grew by 48%.

This increased spending comes as the government increasingly works to define its role in policing the burgeoning IoT market and develop the policy environment to help the industry grow.

The Govini report found that most of the IoT growth came from the area of defense, which accounted for 88% of sensor spending in the previous four years. Key departments include Homeland Security which invested in a connected sensor network to monitor the US border and the Pentagon, which employs IoT tech to help soldiers improve their situational awareness.

DoD & NASA biggest government IoT consumers

A big non-defense spender was NASA, which has developed a connected network of devices and sensors to observe space and terrestrial patterns.

IoT A notable example of defense-related IoT tech is the Persistent Threat Detection System by Lockheed Martin, which observes the nearby area via tethered aircraft.

The IoT supply chain for defense spending was dominated by such large contractors as BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and Lockheed Martin.

Though big players like these are currently dominating the federal government IoT supply chain, Govini’s Matt Hummer told Nextgov in an interview that newcomers could still find opportunities to supply the US government.

He said that federal information security protocols make it easier for smaller IoT firms to partner with big contractors when supplying federal departments and agencies. Part of this opportunity lies in the ambiguity of feds’ requests for proposals when constructing new networks which rarely mention the specific term “internet of things.”