Online extra: Defense budget focuses on transformation

Budget plan places a strong emphasis on science, technology, readiness and training.

The Defense Department's $401.7 billion fiscal 2005 budget proposal calls for investing heavily in integrated intelligence systems and places a strong emphasis on science, technology, readiness and training.

President Bush's proposal for the department represents a 7 percent increase over this year's funding. Defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld said the new funds will aid the military in its transformation goals.

'This budget builds upon past work to provide for a ready force made up of the talents and skills needed in our new national security environment,' Rumsfeld said in a statement.

The proposal includes $68.9 billion for new weapons systems R&D, up from the $64 billion this year. It also earmarks $74.9 billion for weapons and other equipment, including $1.2 billion for unmanned aerial vehicles and $710 million for joint unmanned combat air systems.

The R&D portion includes $573.1 million for satellite communications projects, more than twice as much as the $267.7 million allotted for this year. Defense comptroller Dov S. Zakheim said the department would use laser communications to overcome the satellite bandwidth limitations that hinder network-centric warfare.

'You will have so much more communication going in'so many more ways, so much more quickly'which will obviously make a tremendous difference to the folks who have to operate and fight,' Zakheim said.

Departmentwide network-centric warfare projects would get a major boost, from $91.2 million this year to $125.1 million next. Funding for command, control and communications systems would grow as well, to $225.8 million from $193.6 million.

The High-Performance Computing Modernization program would see its funding drop to $186.7 million, from $202.5 million.

The budget does not include money for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Other funding in the budget proposal includes:

' $3.2 billion for the Army's Future Combat System program to link 18 advanced warfighting ground and air vehicles and sensors. The request would push funding up from $1.7 billion this year.

' $4.5 billion for the Joint Strike Fighter, a high-tech combat aircraft being developed by Lockheed Martin Corp. This year, the JSF program will receive $4.3 billion.

' $1.4 billion for the Navy's DD(X) destroyer program, which would advance smaller, faster warships that employ advanced weaponry, networking and IT. Construction on the first DDX is set for next year 2005.

' $10.2 billion for the missile defense program, a 13 percent increase over the $9 billion appropriated this year.

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