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10 Feb 05. GCN reports that the U.S. Defense Department today unveiled a $419.3bn budget that calls for raising IT spending by the largest margin in
the past four years.

President Bush asked Congress to approve $30.1bn for IT programs next year, a 4.9 percent increase over this year. The president’s budget proposal would raise the entire government’s IT spending by 7.1 percent.

“The 2006 budget supports substantial investments in advanced technology to provide advantages over our enemies, particularly in remote sensing and high-performance computing,” Defense noted in a summary of IT spending. “Investments in communications are improving connectivity between troops and their commanders well beyond the field of battle. These developments are improving our ability to detect and counter the broad range of threats facing the United States, reaping benefits for both U.S. forces and homeland security.”

The budget proposal includes a 3.1 percent personnel pay raise and additional bonuses to support recruiting and retention. The president also would increase by 1,400 the number of special operations personnel in the intelligence community.

Some budget highlights include:
$613m for acquisition of the Littoral Combat Ship, an increase of $156m from this year
$836m to continue development of Transformational Satellite Communications
$1.2bn for the Advanced Extremely High-Frequency Satellite Communications System
$1.7bn for unmanned vehicles
$3.4bn for the Army’s Future Combat System, an increase of $200m
$5.0bn for the Joint Strike Fighter.

The budget also would nix or cut funding for several major Defense programs to slow production rate for the V-22, the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle, the F/A-22 and several classes of large warships.

DOD has terminated the Joint Missile Program, which represents a $2.3bn cut, and the Air Force C-130J cargo aircraft procurement, a $5bn cut.

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