IT fuels Army's budget needs

The Army needs a larger slice of the Defense Department budget, in part

because of its growing reliance on information technologies, according to

Louis Caldera, secretary of the Army.

Because it does not field as many multibillion-dollar platforms as its sister

services, the Army traditionally has received a smaller percentage of the

Pentagon budget. However, Caldera said that in order to transform itself

into an Information Age force while maintaining current capabilities, the

Army needs as much funding as the other services.

"We have failed to recognize in our budgeting that the Army has become as

capital-intensive a service as the Navy and Air Force," Caldera said, speaking

Thursday at a Washington, D.C., conference on National Strategies and Capabilities

for a Changing World. "Leveraging information technology for our soldiers — as we are doing today in our digitization efforts, in Land Warrior, in

Army transformation — is capital-intensive."

Caldera added that the Army needs two or three times the modernization budget

it currently gets to make it comparable to the other services.

John Grady, spokesman for the Association of the United States Army, a private, nonprofit organization that supports Army causes, said the Army's entire budget for science and technology, research and development, and procurement is about $14 billion. "Not even the size of the Air Force's F-22 program," Grady said.

In 2001, the Army will receive 24.3 percent of the military budget, the Navy 31.5 percent, the Air Force 29.3 percent. The Office of the Secretary of Defense claims the remainder for departmentwide spending. In 2005, the Army is slated to receive 25.3 percent, the Navy 31.2 percent, and the Air Force 29.5 percent.

The Army is undergoing a massive transformation to make its forces more

mobile and more lethal. The envisioned future, known as the Objective Force,

will be more deployable than today's armored forces but will be better able

to survive an all-out fight than the current light forces.

"We simply cannot provide our soldiers mobility on the battlefield, real-time

situation awareness or digital operational connectivity for the precision

targeting of enemy forces at greater distances on the less than $10 billion

a year in modernization funding that the Army gets," Caldera said. "It simply

cannot be done."

The Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis Inc., a nonpartisan research organization,

sponsored the annual conference, which drew such heavy hitters as each of

the service chiefs of staff, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and

several members of Congress.

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