IT high on Pentagon shopping list

Joint Staff Directorate for C4 systems

Information technology appears to be as high on the Pentagon's shopping list as jet fighters and combat helicopters, said Lt. Gen. Joseph Kellogg Jr., a top information technology adviser to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Kellogg said that based on what he has seen of the numerous reviews within the Pentagon, he believes Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is a believer in the power of IT.

"There is no doubt in my mind that information technology is right up there at No. 1 with the F-22, Joint Strike Fighter and Comanche. It's right there at the top," Kellogg said, speaking June 21 at a Federal Sources Inc. breakfast in McLean, Va.

Kellogg also repeated his belief that the laws governing control of the Pentagon's IT budget need to be changed to ensure that the military services and agencies purchase systems capable of sharing information. Acknowledging that the suggestion would not be received warmly in the U.S. military, Kellogg also cited the recent move by England's Ministry of Defense to give Kellogg's British counterpart full control of the IT budget.

When asked how the Joint Staff can improve the acquisition process so that the services can field equipment before it becomes obsolete, Kellogg responded: "One way — and they don't like it — is to take their money. I think it's a good way to do it. The British just did that. The British military consolidated all of their monies for information technologies under one individual, their J6. He owns it all."

Rather than that contentious move, however, Kellogg speculated the Pentagon might provide up to $500 million in some so-called "wedge money" to be used specifically for getting up-to-date technology to field the quickly.

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