DOD's C4 budget slides, IT remains the same

Belkis Leong-Hong, deputy assistant secretary of Defense for plans and resources, said the total DOD 1997 budget for command, control, communications and computers and information technology declined $100 million to $23.3 billion in 1997, from $23.4 billion in 1996.

Leong-Hong said the IT budget remains unchanged from 1996 at $9.8 billion. The Pentagon's budget communications bill will slip to $6.7 billion in 1997, from $6.2 billion in 1996, while the command and control budget will dip $100 million to $4.4 billion in 1997. The space budget, covering such items as communications satellites, climbed to $2.4 billion in 1997, from $2.2 billion a year ago.

The Navy's communications and electronics budget would diminish 24 percent, with a similar cut planned for the Air Force. But the Army would get a 6 percent increase, to $1.8 billion, to cover its deployment to Bosnia and other peacekeeping missions.

The Global Combat Support System, a Defense Information Systems Agency program built on the common operating environment developed for the Global Command and Control System, received "significant" funding of $203 million in 1997, Leong-Hong said. DISA also decided to tap low Earth orbit satellite systems for its global communications requirements, with 1996-2001 spending put at $88 million.

The Pentagon also plans to increase its investment in key automated information systems by $330 million in 1997, with the Material Management Standard System and total asset visibility as prime candidates for this funding, he said.

The downward trend in military modernization is expected to be reversed in fiscal 1998, with funding to procure new equipment projected to increase to $60.1 billion by fiscal 2001—some 40 percent more than the $38.9 billion requested for fiscal 1997. Communications technologies are expected to play a major role, with investment in such programs as the Milstar communications satellite and the Global Broadcast Service, which will adapt for DOD use commercial, direct-broadcast and digital TV technology to provide real-time logistics, weather and intelligence information.

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