Bush questions Defense IT cuts

A sum of $320 million in IT spending separates the Senate's Defense budget proposal from the House's IT budget recommendation for fiscal 2004.

The Senate's plan for military IT spending for 2004 is $27.9 billion, up $180 million from 2003. The House proposed a $27.6 billion IT budget.

The difference may seem minor, but it did not go unnoticed by the Bush administration.

The administration released a statement calling cuts proposed by the Senate, which passed the bigger IT package, detrimental to military transformation. Bush said the proposed cuts to military satellite communications and the ballistic missile defense program, if approved, would force delays in fielding the programs.

Bush's budget proposal for Defense IT and transformation would grow from $27 billion in 2004 to $239 billion in 2009. The 2004 funds include $2.7 billion to expand on current command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems, such as the Joint Tactical Radio System, a senior DOD official said.

The Senate's $369 billion Defense budget proposal includes:
  • $63.5 billion for research, development, testing and evaluation
  • $10.7 billion for science and technology
  • $2.5 million for a Joint Engineering Data Management Information and Control System
  • Establishment of a National Security Personnel System
  • Approval of $2 million for operation and maintenance for an Army Reserve Software Engineering Institute.

The House passed its version of the Defense spending bill July 8, also approving $369 billion. The House version includes:
  • $1.7 billion for the Army's Future Combat Systems program

  • $4.2 billion for the Joint Strike Fighter program.

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