DOD budget to stay IT course

The Defense Department last week posted detailed information about its fiscal 2002 information technology budget request. The numbers contain few surprises, but an analyst said they do offer some positive signs.

There are subtle changes that show a stronger understanding by DOD management of IT and its importance to the mission, said Ray Bjorklund, vice president of consulting services for Federal Sources Inc., a consulting firm.

The numbers show some funding stability in fiscal 2002, he said. The DOD budget includes $15.7 billion for IT and $7.2 billion slated for technologies that support national security systems.

Lawmakers are in the early stages of reviewing the budget request. But if they go along with the administration's proposal, the Navy, Air Force and Defense agencies would all see increases. The request includes a $300 million increase for the Navy, a $200 million increase for the Air Force and a $500 million increase for Defense agencies. The Army, meanwhile, is slated for a $200 million decrease.

"I don't think we'll see any major changes in DOD's IT spending until the fiscal 2003 budget," Bjorklund said. He is encouraged by the subtle growth in the IT budget and a realignment since the numbers were presented earlier this year.

The Defense Information Systems Agency is requesting a big boost in its fiscal year 2002 contracting budget, in part to support a new satellite communications program.

DISA officials are requesting a procurement budget of nearly $198 million — $130 million more than it received in 2001. Of that, $97 million would be dedicated to the Teleport program, which will improve transmission of DISA voice, video and data services to deployed forces via satellite.

DISA officials have also requested $19 million for the Defense Message System, up $2.4 million from last year. DMS is a $1.6 billion electronic messaging system designed to support secure DOD communications worldwide.

The DISA request also includes $43 million for information systems security, up from last year's $20 million. The Global Combat Support System, however, would receive less than $2 million, down from last year's $5 million.

About the Authors

Christopher J. Dorobek is the co-anchor of Federal News Radio’s afternoon drive program, The Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, and the founder, publisher and editor of the DorobekInsider.com, a leading blog for the Federal IT community.

Dorobek joined Federal News Radio in 2008 with 16 years of experience covering government issues with an emphasis on government information technology. Prior to joining Federal News Radio, Dorobek was editor-in-chief of Federal Computer Week, the leading news magazine for government IT decision-makers and the flagship of the 1105 Government Information Group portfolio of publications. As editor-in-chief, Dorobek served as a member of the senior leadership team at 1105 Government Information Group, providing daily editorial direction and management for FCW magazine, FCW.com, Government Health IT and its other editorial products.

Dorobek joined FCW in 2001 as a senior reporter and assumed increasing responsibilities, becoming managing editor and executive editor before being named editor-in-chief in 2006. Prior to joining FCW, Dorobek was a technology reporter at PlanetGov.com, one of the first online community centers for current and former government employees. He also spent five years at Government Computer News, another leading industry publication, covering a variety of federal IT-related issues.

Dorobek is a frequent speaker on issues involving the government IT industry, and has appeared as a frequent contributor to NewsChannel 8’s Federal News Today program. He began his career as a reporter at the Foster’s Daily Democrat, a daily newspaper in Dover, N.H. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California. He lives in Washington, DC.



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