DOD will split IT spending, CIO says

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The Defense Department will change the way it describes information technology spending in the 2005 budget, its top IT official said.

DOD will break IT funding into two categories: warfighting and business, John Stenbit, the department's chief information officer, said in an Aug. 25 interview after he spoke at the Air Force IT Conference.

"We're going to be much more careful about describing business IT from warfighting IT, such that we can make some better distinctions about how much money we're putting into which," Stenbit said.

The former TRW Inc. engineer and executive performs two DOD jobs: assistant secretary of defense for networks and information integration, the job that is responsible for warfighting IT, and CIO, the job that is responsible for business IT, including accounting, finance and human resources systems.

Congress currently regards IT as a broad category that covers spy plane radars, communications satellites and DOD payroll systems, Stenbit said. "We have some communications [to improve] at the fundamental level about what's IT, how does it work, etc.," he said.

The 2004 budget discussions with Congress and the Office of Management and Budget convinced him that DOD should change the way it reports IT spending, Stenbit said. When Congress convenes next month, it will debate a $2 billion cut by the House in DOD's $24 billion 2004 IT budget.

"We need to crisp up our definitions much better," Stenbit said.

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