HCNS puts security funds near half-billion mark

Defense Department spending on information security could hit more than half a billion dollars between now and 2001 as a result of language inserted into the 1997 Defense authorization bill by the House Committee on National Security (HCNS).

The committee also included what it called "substantial funding" for advanced information technology systems and initiatives, including the Army's Force XXI battlefield digitization plan and "an array of joint service programs designed to explore the possibilities of a tactical internet" for sharing data among units of all services for command and control.

The committee said it decided to earmark funds for DOD information systems security programs due to concerns that the Pentagon "is devoting woefully insufficient resources to protecting the department's information systems."

The report on the 1997 DOD authorization bill said the committee took this tack because information security has become a fiscal orphan.

"Despite widespread recognition of the problem, there are no volunteers to provide funds to correct it.... As a result, the DOD leadership has added only modest resources for information security.... Allocation [of funding] appears to have been determined by the amount of funds that could be easily extracted from the overall budget for command, control and communications after the normal budget review process."

To forestall this ad hoc approach to information systems security funding, the committee directed the Pentagon to allocate a one-half percent per year of the total Defense Information Infrastructure budget to information systems security. John Pescatore, research director for the Information Systems Security Research and Advisory Service for Trusted Information Systems, Glenwood, Md., said this allocation could amount to as much as $137 million a year.

The Defense Information Systems Agency's Center for Information Security and the Infosec Technical Services contracts, held by Computer Sciences Corp., Merdan Group and Science Applications International Corp., will be the primary beneficiaries of this increase in funding, Pescatore noted.

The committee said it viewed technology investments as a way to "leverage the effectiveness and adaptability of U.S. forces into the next century...particularly technologies that allow for the rapid collection, processing and dissemination of information and intelligence throughout the operational battlefield."

The committee put $100 million in additional funding into the Army's Force XXI program to rapidly move "compelling technologies" to the field by streamlining the acquisition process.

The HCNS bolstered Army digitization efforts with $48 million in funding for the Army Data Distribution System built around the Enhanced Position and Location Reporting System data radio manufactured by Hughes Aircraft Co. The panel added $25 million to the budget to procure EPLRS sets for integration into Air Force and Marine attack aircraft in the Situational Awareness Data Link program. The HCNS also seeded other data link programs that will support "tactical internets" with additional funds, including $36.7 million for improvements in Navy tactical data link systems, including Link 16 systems to tie together surface ship systems.

The Air Force received $55.7 million in additional funding to install Link 16 systems in a variety of attack, fighter, bomber and reconnaissance aircraft, for a total of $66.8 million in Link 16 spending.

The House backed telemedicine programs, saying it "believes telemedicine provides a unique opportunity to deliver combat care more rapidly and accurately than by current methods." The panel added $5 million in funding to make telemedicine an "active part" of the Army's Force XXI Advanced Warfighting Experiments.

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