DOD budget goes digital

The Pentagon has not yet reduced its annual budget to a simple computerized spreadsheet, but the Defense Department plans to use the World Wide Web as its preferred method of distribution for its fiscal 2000 budget, due for release on Monday.

DOD will sharply limit the number of paper copies available for the press at a series of budget briefings tomorrow, according to a Pentagon spokeswoman.

"We will have around 250, which amounts to a substantial reduction from previous years, when we distributed 800 to 1,000 copies to the press." Because the DOD budget in years past has weighed close to 2 pounds, the Pentagon will save more than 1,500 pounds of paper alone in cutting back its distribution to the press.

The Pentagon spokeswoman said the department's move toward electronic distribution of the multiple-volume DOD budget dovetails with the principles of the Defense Reform Initiative, which calls for electronic distribution of formerly printed material whenever possible.

DOD wants to steer as many of its own personnel—1.4 million in uniform and three- quarters of a million civilians—to the online budget "so we don't have to cut down as many forests," the Pentagon spokeswoman said. She added that using the Web will "be the fastest way" for anyone to determine the budgetary fate of a particular program or project. The DOD fiscal 2000 budget will available online on Monday at 8 a.m. at www.dtic.mil/comptroller/FY2000budget/.

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