DOD 2007 budget authorized

House and Senate conferees have authorized the Defense Department to spend $532.8 billion on its programs in fiscal 2007. Lawmakers reached agreement late last week on the National Defense Authorization Act for 2007.

The full House and Senate passed the conference report Friday; now the bill will be sent to President Bush to be signed into law.

The report includes $84.2 billion in procurement funding; $73.6 billion for research, development, testing and evaluation; $110.1 billion for military personnel; and $115.3 billion for operations and maintenance.

The committee said it is concerned with IT development, procurement and management across DOD. It believes that IT is one of the critical elements that make our military forces as lethal as they are.

Lawmakers recognize the challenges of building a fully integrated, secure, reliable system for a worldwide deployable military force and that the challenge is complicated by conflicting user requirements and a decentralized procurement system, but with a budget of $31 billion dollars, IT must improve, the report said.

Due to the challenges, the committee said selected IT programs should take a "prudent pause" in order to allow the broader development of the Global Information Grid, DOD's classified and unclassified intranet. If paused, spending on these systems of the future could be more precisely directed to a more mature GIG backbone, resulting in greater efficiency and more rapid deployment of new systems, lawmakers said.

Lawmakers also said they are concerned about one of DOD's largest programs, the Army's Future Combat Systems. Members authorized $3.7 billion for armored systems modernization. This includes:
  • $65.5 million for reconnaissance platforms and sensors
  • $107.7 million for unmanned ground vehicles

  • $17.7 million for unattended sensors

  • $146.1 million for sustainment

  • $570.2 million for manned ground vehicles

  • $2.4 billion for system-to-system engineering and program management.

Conferees are worried FCS programs are at risk of becoming unaffordable and are requiring the Defense Acquisition Board to review the FCS's growing costs.

FCS is designed to link manned and unmanned air and ground vehicles, unattended ground sensors, and a non-line-of-sight cannon-and-launch system via a common computer network known as the System of Systems Common Operating Environment and the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical program (WIN-T).

Conferees will limit FCS funds to $2.85 billion in any year after 2007 until funding priorities outlined in the report are met.

The report also outlines spending limits imposed on other major programs for which cost estimates are rapidly increasing.

Other highlights in the report:
  • $2.6 billion for DD(X), the Navy's next generation destroyer

  • $240.5 million in servicewide communication for Navy Marine Corps Intranet, a decrease of $70 million

  • $340.2 million to bridge Joint Technical Node with WIN-T

  • $190.2 million to the Business Transformation Agency, a decrease of $50 million over last year.

Kerri Hostetler is a staff writer for Washington Technology's sister publication, Government Computer News.

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