More cash for networks, surveillance in '04 defense budget request

Defense Department officials preparing a fiscal 2004 budget request are allocating funds to upgrade the department's data networks and surveillance systems, according to a Nov. 21 press briefing by the Defense Department's director of program analysis and evaluation Stephen Cambone.

According to Cambone, the 2004 proposed budget will allocate research dollars into the Global Information Grid, a Defense Information Systems Agency-led initiative to expand network capacity for the military, as well as look at ways to increased satellite-based data traffic. Both will help the Defense Department enable an overarching command-and-control architecture.

"We've talked again and again and again about this: the need to be able to see, to hear, to move information in large quantities and to move it in a form which is usable by the recipient," Cambone said.

Cambone also said that experts are looking at the use of space-based radar for persistent surveillance.

"If you're going to be precise in the application of your forces and bring about the desired effects, you need to be able to persistently [survey] the environment in which you're operating," Cambone said.

No dollar figures were disclosed for the 2004 budget. Cambone said Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his staff are reviewing budget requests from the services and will send a final budget request to the White House by early December.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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