Administration has IT concerns with House Defense bill

Although the Bush administration says it supports the House of Representative's passage today of the fiscal 2004 Defense appropriations bill, the Office of Management and Budget voiced concern about its IT cuts.

'Reductions of $0.3 billion in information technology spending do not seem prudent at a time when such investment is becoming critical to battlefield success,' the White House said in a statement.

The administration also expressed concern with a shift of over $3 billion from the Defense Department's operations and maintenance account to procurement and research, development, test and evaluation. The statement questioned lawmakers' justifications for the $2.4 billion reduction in President Bush's 2004 proposal for DOD.

Other cuts also drew darts, including scaled-back funding for the Navy's next-generation destroyer and amphibious-ship replacement programs, space-based radar initiative, military satellite communications and ballistic missile defense program.

The House approved a $368.7 billion budget, which is $4.3 billion more than was appropriated this year. Of the 2004 funds, $27.6 billion would go toward systems and IT programs. Bush had proposed $27.9 billion.

But the cuts are far less than the House Armed Services Committee recommended in June. HASC proposed a $1.7 billion cut.

(Corrected 9:40 a.m. July 9, 2003)

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