Senate accedes to Pentagon budget request

The Senate Armed Services Committee slashed little or nothing in the military's $30.1 billion information technology spending request for fiscal 2006 during their markup of the Defense Department's 2006 budget last week, said an official in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Networks and Information Integration and Chief Information Officer.

This sets up a showdown on the military's IT budget when House and Senate lawmakers meet in conference scheduled for this summer. The House Armed Services Committee's Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee cut it by about $250 million when marking up its portion of DOD’s 2006 budget May 11.

This marks the third consecutive year lawmakers proposed cuts to DOD's IT budget. For fiscal 2005, they slashed it by about $500 million after House Armed Services Committee members voted to reduce it by $726 million and Senate Armed Services Committee members voted to cut $200 million. For fiscal 2004, DOD faced IT budget cuts of almost $2 billion, but lawmakers largely rescinded them after conferring on the bill.

House and Senate conferees must also agree on the Army's $3.4 billion funding request for the Future Combat System in the service's $98.6 billion budget request. House lawmakers cut it by $400 million with senators fully funding the program to equip 15 brigades with 18 light, rapid-deployable manned and robotic air and ground systems connected by a fast and secure network.

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