DOD appropriations bill emphasizes importance of 2000 fixes

Congress last month approved $10 billion in fiscal 1999 information technology
appropriations for the Defense Department.


Lawmakers passed a $270.5 billion Defense authorization bill and a $250.5 billion
Defense appropriations bill. President Clinton was expected to sign the Defense bills late
last week.


The appropriations bill directed that none of the IT funds be spent on the development
or modernization of DOD systems that are not year 2000-ready. In addition, House and
Senate lawmakers required DOD to have contingency plans in place by Dec. 30 for those
mission-critical systems that will not meet the year 2000 deadline.


“The conferees remain concerned about the progress the department is making in
bringing its systems into year 2000 compliance,” according to the conference report
accompanying the Defense appropriations bill. “However, conferees are encouraged by
the actions outlined in recent letters from the secretary of Defense and deputy secretary
of Defense regarding year 2000 compliance.”


Defense Secretary William Cohen in August threatened to impose a software development
moratorium next year if the services and DOD agencies did not pick up the pace of their
date code work.


Congress also wants to see DOD conduct at least 25 year 2000 simulations as part of
military exercises between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30 to ensure that systems will work come 2000.
Cohen must submit to Congress by Dec. 15 a plan for conducting the simulations.


The Information Systems Security Program was among the major DOD programs Congress
approved. Defense requested about $239 million for ISSP, but House and Senate
appropriators gave the program more than $251 million, reflecting the heightened concern
regarding network security. The National Security Agency as the ISSP manager will receive
the lion’s share of that $251 million.


DOD also had requested more than $140 million for its High-Performance Computing
Modernization Program to upgrade Defense supercomputers at shared resource centers.
Congress appropriated almost $154 million for the program.


The Air Force will get more than $159 million to support its effort to deploy an
integrated network at 108 bases worldwide. The project is part of the Air Force’s $1
billion Combat Information Transport System program, through which the service is
modernizing its network infrastructure, standardizing operating systems and implementing
enterprisewide network management.


The Navy’s Information Technology for the 21st Century initiative secured
essential funding for shipboard satellite communications terminals. Congress authorized
more than $145 million for the ship terminals.


Congress authorized more than $82 million—$35 million more than the Navy
requested—for the Cooperative Engagement Capability program. CEC is a high-speed
network that fuses data from multiple sources. An operational evaluation of CEC has been
delayed until 2000 to give Navy software developers time to identify and resolve
interoperability problems.


The Army had sought $99.5 million for its Force XXI Warfighting Rapid Acquisition
Program to hasten the purchase of systems to digitize the battlefield. But the
appropriations bill gave it a little more than $27 million.


Another Army system that took a hit was the service’s Land Warrior, an integrated
weapons system for the digital battlefield of the 21st century. Congress killed
procurement funding for the program.


But it was not all bad news for Army programs. Lawmakers gave more than $108 million
for the Reserve Component Automation System, which supports operational, training and
administrative services for Army National Guard and Reserve units.


The appropriations bill also gave the Army National Guard $35 million for its distance
learning program, which uses a network that links Guard armories nationwide.


Congress appropriated $50 million for DOD’s portion of the Next Generation
Internet program, which the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency runs.


In a move apart from funding, the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for
Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence got a new name. Congress changed the
name of DOD’s top system shop to the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for
Space and Information Superiority.


Also, Congress directed the Joint Electronic Commerce Program Office to have a DOD-wide
electronic mall for department electronic catalogs running by June 1.    

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