House appropriators cut Iraq IT funding

The House Appropriations Committee slashed more than $300 million last week from the nearly $2 billion requested by President Bush for information technology improvements in his supplemental bill to sustain operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and worldwide in the war on terrorism.

The committee approved $500 million for Iraqi transportation and telecommunications updates, a $335 million decrease from the $835 million sought in the $87 billion Iraq supplemental budget submitted to Congress Sept. 17.

This week, the full House of Representatives and Senate will debate the bill that President Bush described as necessary to fight terrorism. The administration asked for $65.1 billion for the Defense Department, $20.3 billion for support in Iraq and $800 million for support in Afghanistan. House appropriators approved $64.7 billion for DOD, a $400 million decrease; $18.6 billion for Iraq, a $2.7 billion decrease; and $1.2 billion for Afghanistan, a $400 million increase.

The nearly $2 billion in defense IT spending includes $541.9 million for procurement and $338.8 million for research and development.

The Air Force received the largest IT procurement, $239.3 million, including $150.3 million for communications systems in the Central Command region. Departmentwide programs netted $170.5 million to include $45.4 million for communications and computer security improvements. The Army garnered $121.8 million including $42.2 million for command and control equipment. The Navy would get $10.3 million for command and control and Global Broadcast System satellite terminal updates.

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