Defense funding shoots up, NMCI takes a cut

Defense funding shoots up, NMCI takes a cut

The House and Senate sent the $343.3 billion fiscal 2002 Defense Authorization Bill to President Bush last Friday, with an additional $30 billion in funding over last year to combat terrorism, modernize weapons and technology, and protect the homeland.

In signing off on the largest single-year increase to Defense spending since the early 1980s, congressional conferees said they wanted to reverse years of inadequate federal support for DOD.

'Over the last two decades, this nation slashed Defense spending,' said Rep. Bob Stump (R-Ariz.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. 'As a result, the military suffered significant declines in readiness and quality of life, and was forced to forgo efforts to develop and procure modern weapons and equipment.'

In a portion of the bill called 'Eliminating Waste and Reforming DOD's Organization and Business Practices,' legislators asked the president to require the Navy to appoint a Navy-Marine Corps Intranet program manager whose sole responsibility would be oversight. The conferees gave NMCI $65 million less in fiscal 2002 funding than requested, and they called for more DOD and General Accounting Office monitoring of the NMCI contract.

Other provisions included $143 million for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to develop technologies to detect biowar attacks plus higher spending thresholds for Defense procurement in response to terrorist, chemical or biological attacks.

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