Fiscal '07 Defense budget proposes slight increase

The Defense Department unveiled a $30.5 billion IT budget that puts top-level support and funding behind the technology programs that are driving warfighters toward transformation.

The $439.3 billion Defense budget, released to Congress yesterday along with the Quadrennial Defense Review, proposes a 7 percent increase over the fiscal 2006 budget, as well as a 2.2 percent increase in military base pay.

This marks the first time the QDR was conducted during wartime. The QDR is a report the Defense Department produces every four years that lays out DOD's 20-year projection for transformation.

"Like the QDR, the fiscal 2007 budget reflects the department's continuum of change as we defend our nation, engage in the long war against terrorist extremism and prepare for future potential adversaries," said Defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

In the budget proposal, DOD lays out plans to begin implementing some of the QDR decisions, including the addition of a new Marine Corps Special Operations Command. Plans also include the procurement of hundreds of unmanned aerial reconnaissance vehicles for intelligence-gathering.

"In Washington, there is a tendency to view everything in terms of winners and losers," Rumsfeld said at a Pentagon press briefing. "The QDR and the budget request should not be measured in terms of programs or winners and losers," but as a set of strategic priorities that will transform the military while winning the war on terrorism.

Those priorities include:
  • $3.3 billion in procurement and research, development, test and evaluation for the Navy's DD(X) destroyer

  • $3.7 billion for the Army's Future Combat Systems, including prototype platform development, and network and software development and testing

  • $1.3 billion for the Joint Tactical Radio System

  • $5.3 billion for the Joint Strike Fighter

  • $900 million for the Transformational Satellite program

  • $800 million for the Littoral Combat Ship.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) called the Defense budget "a thoughtful allocation of dollars divided between the immediate challenges of funding the warfighting efforts of the global war on terrorism and investing in requirements to defeat future threats."

"While it represents fewer modernization dollars than were included in the five-year defense plan, it does account for several important initiatives, including an increase for special operations units, an increase in leveraged systems such as unmanned aerial vehicles and further investment in solid quality-of-life programs," Hunter said in a prepared statement.

Dawn S. Onley is a staff writer for Washington Technology's sister publication, Government Computer News.

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