Defense CIO stresses congressional dialogue

The Defense Department's acting chief information officer said he must do a better job of communicating with lawmakers to receive full funding for the military's information technology budget during the next five years.

Increasing health, retirement, operations and fuel costs will cause lawmakers to scrutinize future procurement and research and development spending. Officials in the DOD CIO office must communicate successes in the military's warfighting and business IT programs to achieve the projected 4.4 percent IT budget increase through fiscal 2010, said Linton Wells, and acting assistant secretary of Defense for networks and information integration and CIO. Wells spoke today at the 2004 Vision Conference sponsored by the Government Electronics and Information Technology Association, an industry trade group located in Arlington, Va.

GEIA officials announced today at the annual conference that they project DOD's IT budget to increase from $28.7 billion for fiscal 2005 to $35.6 billion by fiscal 2010.

For example, Wells said DOD CIO office officials will highlight to lawmakers that the almost billion-dollar Global Information Grid-Bandwidth Expansion program started on schedule during the upcoming fiscal 2006 budget deliberations. He also said they would respond to questions faster than they did during the fiscal 2005 budget process.

Lawmakers cut about $500 million from DOD's fiscal 2005 IT budget to express their dissatisfaction with department officials' progress on the multibillion-dollar Business Management Modernization Program. Department officials asked them to reconsider the cuts, but lawmakers said the department's appeal came too late in the budget process.

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