Lawmakers recommend $422.2b for DOD in 2005

Lawmakers debating next year's Defense Department authorization bills have called 2005 the 'year of the troops,' promising to prioritize funds for combat and force protection capabilities.

Members of the House and Senate Armed Services committees this month also criticized DOD procurement processes and said they would continue to scrutinize IT programs to see that managers justify their spending plans.

'The committee is deeply concerned about the pace at which new technology moves from the laboratory to the battlefield and the ability to respond to emerging, critical operational needs,' House committee members said in a markup of their bill.

Both committees are recommending $422.2 billion for DOD and the national security programs of the Energy Department.

Where it goes

The bills include $25 billion in emergency supplemental funding for Iraq, a 3.5 percent across-the-board pay raise for military personnel, a $192 million increase for unmanned aerial vehicle surveillance and an additional $30 million for devices to jam homemade bombs.

The Senate committee approved $11 billion and the House committee $11.1 billion for the Defense science and technology program, including basic and applied research and advanced technology development.

Both committees also proposed more funding for information assurance, force protection, unmanned systems and basic research, including $70 million for unmanned systems programs and $80 million for basic research, information assurance and advanced composite materials.

Other highlights of the budget markups include:
  • $4.6 billion for Navy and Air Force development of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, a high-tech Lockheed Martin Corp. combat aircraft program that received $4.3 billion this year

  • $3.2 billion in R&D funding for the Army's Future Combat Systems, a plan to network weapons systems

  • $1.5 billion for the Navy's DD(X) networked warships program

  • $445.2 million for the Joint Tactical Radio System, a departmentwide effort to develop an interoperable architecture for all military radio systems

  • $277 million to procure more unmanned aerial vehicles

  • $122 million for advanced technologies for the Combating Terrorism Technology Support Program

  • $99.6 million for the Army's Warfighting Information Network-Terrestrial, a high-speed, high-capacity network for wired and wireless voice, data and video communications on the battlefield

  • $8.9 million for the Digital Soldier Project to field handheld devices for emergency situational reporting.

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