By the numbers: Defense IT spending

To understand the enormous scope of the Defense Department’s enterprise IT strategy, one need only look at the numbers involved, which are big enough to form a tempting target for budget cutters.

Here’s a glance at some of the vital statistics and what might be at risk.

Spending: Much of DOD's IT budget is considered safe from trimming, particularly because the government is looking to IT to help it save money. In particular, cybersecurity is largely being protected. But with more than half the IT budget going to infrastructure, it's clear that department leaders are looking to consolidation as a way to save on the high cost of maintenance and support.

The fiscal 2013 budget proposal seeks:

  • A total of $525 billion
  • $37 billion for IT — $20.8 billion (56 percent) for IT infrastructure and $16.2 billion (44 percent) for non-infrastructure/systems acquisition
  • $3.4 billion for cybersecurity

The $20.8 billion for infrastructure includes:

  • $7.8 billion (37 percent) for infrastructure maintenance
  • $7.5 billion (36 percent) for information management
  • $4.4 billion (21 percent) for battle space networks
  • $1.1 billion (5 percent) for infrastructure support

IT spending by service (numbers have been rounded)

  • Army: $9.8 billion
  • Navy: $7.5 billion
  • Air Force: $6.2 billion
  • DISA: $5.5 billion
  • Defensewide: $8 billion

Systems: Consolidation and the push to close redundant data centers, networks and e-mail servers are key elements of DOD’s IT strategy. Deputy CIO Rob Carey said the goal is to end up with fewer than 100 data centers, but the number of mobile devices is unlikely to see major cuts.

DOD has:

  • Roughly 10,000 operational systems, 20 percent of which are mission-critical
  • 800 data centers
  • 65,000 servers
  • More than 7 million computers and IT devices
  • 250,000 BlackBerrys, 5,000 Apple iOS pilot systems and 3,000 Android pilot systems

DOD's IT user base: In the long run, plans call for lower troop levels, which means DOD’s user base would shrink. Additionally, the department and the Army in particular are looking for ways to transition military family members and retirees to less expensive e-mail services. One option is a repurposed version of Army Knowledge Online, which is being incrementally defunded as enterprise e-mail ramps up.

DOD’s IT services support:

  • 1.4 million active-duty service members
  • 750,000 civilian employees
  • 1.1 million National Guard and Reserve members
  • More than 5.5 million military family members and military retirees
  • More than 6,000 locations
  • More than 600,000 buildings and structures

About the Author

Amber Corrin is a former staff writer for FCW and Defense Systems.

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Reader comments

Sun, May 13, 2012

They could save several million each year by replacing DoD 8570.1 with a rational regulation that actually defined the knowledge particular IT workers need, and matching in-house courses to provide that training. 3-10 k per employee for 'check the box' certifications from 'teach to the test' boot camps is not wise stewardship of taxpayer funds. Training is good, but the current system makes one wonder if the people who wrote the reg have relatives that own stock in the dimploma mill training/certification companies.

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