Bush signs $355 billion Defense bill

President Bush signed into law today a $355.1 billion defense appropriations bill marking the largest increase in defense spending across the board since the Reagan administration 20 years ago.

A $37 billion increase over last year's budget, the spending plan covers a 4.1 percent pay increase to service members. It also doles out $58 billion to cover research and development of new weapons and technologies.

The bill falls $1.6 billion short of what was requested, but funds a range of transformational IT initiatives, including:

  • $251 million for the Army's Future Combat System

  • $338 million for the Air Force's Multi-sensor command and control constellation development program

  • A 17 percent increase for the Defense Advanced Projects Agency over last fiscal year

The Navy received the $1.4 billion it requested to fund the Navy-Marine Corps Intranet, but the bill includes language which calls for 'rigorous operational assessment' before entering the next phase of the program.

The budget also increases procurement to $71.6 billion ' a $10.7 billion increase over fiscal year 2002.

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