Bush seeks 3% hike for DOD IT in fiscal 2004

DOD IT budget breakdowns

Several Defense Department technology programs will see a financial windfall if the president's fiscal 2004 budget request is approved, according to data released late last month.

The Bush administration has asked for significant budget increases for the Defense Information System Network (DISN), which is seeking a nearly $300 million increase over fiscal 2003, and for space-based programs and technologies, which could see their coffers swell by $500 million.

The president is requesting $27.9 billion for information technology and national security systems, compared to $27 billion in fiscal 2003, a 3.3 percent increase. Although the $900 million increase over the fiscal 2003 amount is relatively small compared to the $2.9 billion increase between fiscal 2002 and 2003, defense insiders say they are encouraged by the support their programs are being shown.

Linda Kjonnerod, a program analyst with DOD's chief information officer's office, said getting money to continue programs and start new ones is fine, but that cannot be the end of the process for Defense agencies.

"The measure of success is not getting the money, it's delivering the capability," Kjonnerod said. "We have to remember, IT is an enabler, not a separate appropriation in the budget. IT is reconciled across every single thing we [in DOD] do."

Howard Stern, a senior vice president at Federal Sources Inc., said DOD is continuing its trend of giving more money to the development of technologies that show promise and a smaller percentage to unproven technologies.

"Some of the major trends in the Defense agencies revolve around development, modernization and enhancement of existing technologies," Stern said. "Defense agencies will average about 34 percent of IT money spent on new projects and 66 percent on what we call steady-state technologies."

Consistency, Stern said, is what DOD needs to maintain a technologically strong program.

The Navy is spending the smallest percentage of IT dollars on new projects and technologies at 34.3 percent, and the Air Force is spending the most, but only 0.4 percent more than the Navy at 34.8 percent. The parity could lend itself well to a consistent development cycle, he said.

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Money talks

Select Defense Department IT programs

Fiscal 2003 budget (actual) ... Fiscal 2004 budget (requested)

(Figures are in millions)

DISA - Defense Information System Network: $2.05 ... $2.34

Air Force Base Level Communication Infrastructure: $1.15 ... $1.03

Navy - Navy Marine Corps Intranet: $734 ... $993

DISA - Defense Enterprise Computing Centers: $760 ... $705

DISA - Global Information Grid Bandwidth Expansion: $497 ... $386

Navy - Marine Corps Operational Support Systems: $215 ... $348

Navy - Navy Base Level Communications: $287 ... $304

Source: Federal Sources Inc.

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