Appropriators recognize Pentagon tech needs

New members of Congress quickly learn that much policy in Washington is driven by where the money goes, and they also learn that Congress appropriates much of the money to the military.

This year is no exception, and with war commitments, defense spending is reaching new heights. Both the Senate and House in recent weeks have passed bills whose tabs exceed $416 billion to fund the Defense Department in fiscal 2005. The president requested $417.8 billion, including two amended requests, one of them $25 billion in emergency spending for war.

The Senate passed the bill, H.R. 4613, on a 98-0 vote Thursday; the House passed its competing version on a 403-17 vote two days earlier.

Technology is a key part of military spending as the department tries to stay ahead of enemies and rivals both in products and process, and the Senate Appropriations Committee report to that chamber's Defense spending bill shows an understanding of the importance of technology. The report includes numerous line items on tech-related programs and activities, including research and development.

For instance, the committee report says the Appropriations Committee recognizes the merits of commercially available encryption technology and encourages the Air Force to explore its use. "The committee understands this technology could be utilized for the protection of highly sensitive, special-access programs and could allow for communication of such data using commercial networks," the report said.

The Senate bill does not summarize Defense spending for information technology as the House measure does. The legislation did not differ significantly from the committee report on any major IT programs, according to a Senate aide.

Funds would be allotted for defense systems on the Internet, in the air and in outer space, on and under water, and on every type of topography. Many line items are designed to bolster IT systems and training. Research and development of far-reaching technological capabilities, such as data mining and threat detection, also would be funded in various accounts.

The Senate added tens of millions of dollars to the president's request for space technology. It also increased the request for research by hundreds of millions of dollars, ranging across disciplines from semiconductors to nanotechnology to cognitive computing systems.

The Senate would give $2.9 billion to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the department's research arm. But the committee called on DARPA to submit a comprehensive plan on transitioning its technologies to the military services or acquisition agents.

The committee also expressed concern in its report over the flexibility DARPA has in its budget. It said DARPA's director has the ability to discontinue programs and transfer resources through a review process that evaluates how promising and relevant the technologies are.

The committee also directed DARPA to increase the number of program elements included in its budget pertaining to individual programs. The move would increase transparency for each program, over half of which request more than $200 million in resources. Last year, the Senate cut funding for a DARPA data-mining technology called Total Information Awareness.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.