Bush signs DOD appropriations bill

President Bush signed the $355 billion Defense appropriations bill into law today, and said the more than $37 billion increase from last year includes funding for information technology-intensive systems and research and development.

The DOD budget includes funding for new systems — "systems that will enable our military to do a more effective job at defending America and our freedoms, systems such as the unmanned aerial vehicles like the Predator and the Global Hawk that we've used so effectively in Afghanistan," Bush said.

The budget includes $131 million — an addition of $26 million over the budget request — for procurement of 22 Predator UAVs that use radar, a TV camera and an infrared camera for surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting. It also sets aside $129 million for procurement of three Global Hawk UAVs, and $42 million to accelerate development of a Navy Global Hawk variant — the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance.

Bush said the bill also contains almost $58 billion in research and development. That funding includes a 17 percent increase over last year for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) — the agency charged with developing innovative and often high-risk research ideas and demonstrating its technical feasibility through prototypes.

Many military command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) programs are also well-funded, including:

* $251 million, including an addition to the amended budget request of $105 million, for the Army's Future Combat Systems. FCS is envisioned to create an integrated battle space, where networked information and communications systems provide a competitive edge to soldiers in the field and commanders in the control room.

* $338 million for the Air Force's Multi-sensor Command and Control Constellation development program, which is a future "constellation" of air and space C2 and ISR capabilities consisting of a multisensor C2 aircraft, space-based systems and UAVs as the primary components.

* Net increases to the president's request for the National Foreign Intelligence Program (NFIP), the largest one-year increase in intelligence spending in more than two decades.

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