Senate committee OKs Defense funding boost

Senate committee OKs Defense funding boost

By Bill Murray

GCN Staff

In its markup last month of the fiscal 2001 Defense Department authorization bill, the Senate Armed Services Committee approved a spending increase for network security and funds to bolster DOD's information technology work force.

The panel approved giving DOD $309.8 billion next year, an increase of $4.5 billion over what President Clinton requested in his fiscal 2001 budget proposal. The committee bill calls for funneling an additional $76.8 million to create an Information Security Scholarship Program to recruit and retain employees with computer and network security skills.

Clinton had requested $50 million in R&D funding for the Institute for Information Infrastructure Protection, which would serve as a forum for government and industry to exchange security information. The committee approved $1.7 billion for federal systems protection and $300 million for industry infrastructure protection.

The committee also called for boosting general research funding.

The panel added $446.3 million for the Defense science and technology programs, a 6 percent increase over Clinton's $7.5 billion request to fund basic and applied advanced technologies R&D.

Learn and use

'We need to apply the many lessons learned from the air campaign in Kosovo and harness ongoing technological advances in ways that will maintain our military superiority,' said Sen. John W. Warner (R-Va.), the committee's chairman.

During his tenure, former DOD deputy chief information officer Marvin J. Langston had urged Congress to increase science and technology funding. Langston, who previously worked at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, had argued that DOD was relying too much on industry R&D on security. Langston said the United States should lead the world in developing systems to meet emerging cyberthreats.

Langston left DOD in January for a job in the private sector.

The panel also included language that would require that the Navy'Marine Corps Intranet procurement 'be made in compliance with acquisition regulations and management requirements.' The committee's concerns echo those raised by the House Armed Services Committee in its version of the authorization bill. The House bill goes a step further, however, demanding that the Navy not spend any funds on an NMCI contract until it fully justifies the project to Congress.

In a move that could affect IT procurements, the committee also included language directing the department to halt cutbacks in the DOD acquisition work force.

The ban would last three years and came in response to DOD inspector general reports about problems in Defense acquisition because of efforts by DOD to reduce staff. The Senate is at odds with the House on this item. In its markup, House Armed Services recommended reducing the Defense acquisition work force by 13,000 positions next year.

The House and Senate expect to begin conference committee meetings this month to resolve differences between their bills.

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