Report: Pentagon Needs Meatier IT Investment

The Quadrennial Defense Review, just issued by the Defense Department, outlines sweeping changes needed at every level of the U.S. military, with investments in information technology, logistics modernization and acquisition reform high on the priorities list.

Annual procurement spending should rise from about $60 billion to between $100 billion and $110 billion to meet the military's goals, said Gen. Hugh Shelton, who retired Oct. 1 as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in his statement accompanying the report.

The congressionally mandated QDR, prepared every four years at the beginning of a new administration, provides a comprehensive review of military strategy and the structure of the armed services.

The report, dated Sept. 30, identified rapid changes in technologies applied to military operations as an area of risk and great potential reward for the Armed Forces.

Risk arises from failure to embrace new technologies quickly, as well as from the increased likelihood that hostile interests can use commercial technologies to enhance their own military capabilities.

Technological investment provides an immense opportunity for the U.S. military to maintain qualitative and quantitative edges over opposing forces, the report said. The QDR called for defense investment in science and technology to increase and stay at 3 percent of the Defense Department's annual budget.

Manpower constraints, aging infrastructure and weapons systems and ponderous bureaucracies are among the risks the military faces, the report stated. It directs the Defense Department to embrace "core functions" and focus its resources on "excellence in those areas that contribute directly to warfighting."

"Traditionally, "core" has been very loosely and imprecisely defined and too often used as a way of protecting existing arrangements," the report said.

The report also calls for a thorough restructuring of the military acquisition system.

"If we can't take that portion of the defense establishment that is associated with the purchasing and supplying of the means of our forces to do their job, we will never be able to transform the department," said a senior defense official at a Pentagon briefing after the report was released. "A 1950s system for acquiring materiel is not going to work in a 21st-century environment."

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