House gives DOD IT boost

House Defense appropriations bill

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The Defense Department would spend more money on information technology as it steps up the war against terrorism, according to the fiscal 2002 Defense authorization bill passed by the House last week.

Much of the money would go to intelligence organizations to improve the ability to detect possible attacks, such as those on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, federal budget experts said. And while some money will surely go to hire needed personnel, IT will also see increases.

"IT is going to run through each and every one of the government's efforts [to fight terrorism], both domestically and internationally," said Dave Nadler, a partner with the law firm Dickstein, Shapiro, Morin and Oshinsky.

DOD has moved to a war footing. President Bush has signed a $40 billion emergency appropriations bill. At least half of the total will pay for clean-up efforts in New York City and Arlington, Va., and some is earmarked for the war on terrorism and homeland defense, said Payton Smith, manager of strategic research at Input, a market research firm.

DOD chief information officer John Stenbit said some projects—especially those involving security—that otherwise may have been stalled, could now be put on the front burner. "There were some plans dusted off," he said.

"My suspicion is that a lot of it will go into intelligence systems, processing and interpretation," said Ray Bjorklund, a vice president at market research firm Federal Sources Inc. "We have to be a lot more skilled in how those things are interpreted for the decision-makers."

Although great strides have been made in recent years, leaders need to have the best possible information, and "we're talking about an enemy that is very difficult to pin down," he said.

Nadler said he expects there will be spending on crossagency systems that will enable agencies to communicate with one other more effectively and reduce some of the traditional turf battles.

The House's Defense authorization bill includes a $33 billion increase over fiscal 2001's $343 billion. The Senate is expected to act on the bill in early October.

The House version of the bill includes the provision to remove the Marine Corps from the Navy Marine Corps Intranet program, a provision opposed by the Marines. The Senate version instead has language that incorporates the agreement on testing reached between the Navy and the Pentagon. The differences will have to be resolved in a House/Senate conference committee.

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The Senate bill

Provisions of the Senate's Defense authorization bill include:

* Requiring the Joint Forces Command to evaluate and ensure joint operability

of unmanned aerial vehicle systems.

* Prohibiting the Army from expanding its Wholesale Logistics Modernization

Program until it proves the original legacy systems have been successfully

replaced.

* Requiring the Defense secretary and the CIA director to submit a revised

report assessing the alternatives for establishing a national collaborative

information analysis capability.

About the Author

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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