Just came across a great article at www.govtech.net on ITIL adoption in the US.  The author, Chad Vander Veen, delves into why this has taken off so much in the US the last few years, the expanded adoption in government IT, and where things are going in v3.0. 

It mentions that some in government circles “are finding that ITIL is renewing the focus on serving customers needs. The consolidation movement sweeping the nation would be utterly pointless if it didn't improve the functions of an organization. And in government, the primary function is serving the public.”

If you are new to ITIL and why this is becoming such a hot topic, this article is a good starting point.