Pentagon plots massive IT grid
- By George I. Seffers
- Nov 01, 2000
The Pentagon's Global Information Grid may be only a concept now, but by
2006 it likely will grow into one of the Defense Department's biggest programs,
according to a recently released market report.
GIG is designed to provide seamless, fully interoperable data to military
forces, from regional commanders in chief to soldiers in the foxhole. In
short, it is the glue that holds together the military's disparate command,
control, communications, computer, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance
GIG is not yet a formal program and therefore has no money being allocated
directly to it in the federal budget. But the concept is being fed by hundreds
of existing programs, including the Future Combat System, DD-21, Warfighter
Information Network-Tactical and the Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications
By 2006, GIG will become one of the Pentagon's largest programs, according
to officials with the Government Electronics and Information Technology
Association (GEIA), which recently released its 10-year market forecast.
Until 2005, the work related to GIG will lie in myriad programs. But
after 2006, the GIG will congeal and become its own line item — probably
becoming "the largest system of systems item that we can see for now out
there," said Franz Hirschmann, co-chairman of GEIA's committee on information
GIG will be funded with money already in the budget rather than with
additional funds, Hirschmann said.
Although GIG is a high priority within the office of assistant secretary
of Defense for command, control, communications and intelligence and for
the Joint Chiefs of Staff, it has not yet received great support from a
national figure, such as the president, members of Congress or the secretary
of Defense, GEIA officials said.
"Something as important and as big as the GIG should have full presidential
support. In the absence of that, [the military] would settle for the full
support of the secretary of Defense," Hirschmann said.
GEIA released its five-year forecast Oct. 19, showing that the Defense
Department spent $22 billion on information technology in fiscal 2000 and
estimating that DOD IT spending will grow 1.1 percent annually over the
next five years, reaching $24.3 billion by 2005.
The organization released its 10-year forecast Oct. 31, projecting that
Defense spending overall will grow to $411 billion in current dollars by
the end of the decade.