Defense Department would cut electronics and communications spending by 10 percent in 2012 budget

BY JOHN KELLER

WASHINGTON-Leaders of the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) propose spending $15.81 billion in fiscal year 2012 for procurement and research in military communications, electronics, telecommunications, and intelligence (CET&I) technologies, which would represent a cut of 10.43 percent from current-year enacted levels of $17.65 billion, according to Pentagon budget documents.

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DOD spending for electronics and communications would be cut by 10 percent next year under the latest Pentagon spending proposals.

This amount in the 2012 DOD budget does not include military activities with substantial electronics content, such as aircraft avionics, vetronics, and missile guidance; when these are added, DOD spending levels for military electronics and defense electro-optics could approach $100.6 billion.

Experts estimate that total DOD information technology, electronics, and electro-optics spending is roughly 15 percent of the total DOD budget. Most of the DOD's technology spending is in the procurement, research, and development accounts.

The DOD's CET&I budget request for next year consists of $10.36 billion in CET&I procurement, down 10.62 percent from current-year levels of $11.59 billion, and $5.45 billion in CET&I research and development, down 10.07 percent from current-year levels of $6.06 billion.

The U.S. Army in 2012 is asking for $6.17 billion in CET&I procurement, down 19 percent from current-year levels of $7.62 billion. The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps in 2012 are asking for $2.07 billion CET&I procurement, up 28.41 percent from current-year levels of $1.62 billion. The U.S. Air Force in 2012 is asking for $2.02 billion for CET&I procurement, down 11.9 percent from current-year levels of $2.29 billion. Service-independent Pentagon agencies are asking for $89.81 million in CET&I procurement in 2012, up 44.26 percent from current-year levels of $62.26 million.

In total for 2012, which begins next Oct. 1, DOD leaders are asking Congress for $670.9 billion-$553.1 billion in discretionary spending, and $117.8 billion to support the continuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan-which the Obama Administration calls "overseas contingency operations."

The Pentagon for next year is asking for $113.01 billion for procurement-up from the 2011 request of $104.79 billion; $75.33 billion for research, development, test, and evaluation (RDT&E), a drop from the 2011 request of $80.39 billion; and $204.42 billion for operations and maintenance, up sharply from the 2011 request of $184.49 billion.

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