Defense budget plan tops $401 billion

The Defense Department's fiscal 2005 budget request was $401.7 billion, of which $27.4 billion is earmarked for information technology spending.

The budget proposal calls for heavy investing in integrated intelligence systems and places a strong emphasis on science, technology, readiness and training.

President Bush's defense proposal is a

7 percent increase over this year's funding. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said the proposal will aid the military in its transformation goals.

The budget includes $68.9 billion for research and development of new weapons systems, up from the $64 billion this year. It also denotes $74.9 billion for weapons and other equipment, including $1.2 billion for unmanned aerial vehicles and $710 million for joint unmanned combat air systems.

Other funding in the budget proposal includes:

* $3.2 billion for the Army's Future Combat System program to link 18 advanced warfighting ground and air vehicles and sensors. The request would push funding up from $1.7 billion this year.

* $4.5 billion for the Joint Strike Fighter, a high-tech combat aircraft being developed by Lockheed Martin Corp. This year, the JSF program will receive $4.3 billion.

* $10.2 billion for the missile defense program, a 13 percent increase over the

$9 billion appropriated this year.

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