Navy takes hit as services eye $4.7 billion for electronics and communications gear

WASHINGTON - Top commanders in the U.S. military services plan to spend more than $4.7 billion next year to procure electronics and communications equipment to support activities such as ground surveillance, information warfare, and satellite communications networks

By John Keller

WASHINGTON - Top commanders in the U.S. military services plan to spend more than $4.7 billion next year to procure electronics and communications equipment to support activities such as ground surveillance, information warfare, and satellite communications networks.

This figure, which represents a 13 percent reduction from the services' electronics and communications spending this year, is in addition to military spending for major systems, platforms, and initiatives such as ballistic missile defense, aircraft, tracked vehicles, warships, submarines, and research programs.

The Pentagon's electronics and communications procurement request went to Congress for consideration on Feb. 7. Lawmakers will debate the request during a series of hearings this spring, and will address the request formally in defense authorizations and appropriations bills next fall.

The current budget request is down by nearly $710 million from the $5.4 billion that Congress authorized for electronics and communications equipment this year.

Requesting the lion's share of electronics and communications funding in 2001 is the U.S. Army, with a budget of more than $1.8 billion - only $40.9 million less than the service received this year.

Highlights of proposed Army electronics and communications spending next year include:

  • $72 milliofor the Defense Satellite Communications System, up from $68.5 milliothis year;
  • $38.3 milliofor SHF communications terminals, up from $13.9 milliothis year;
  • $66.7 milliofor the All Source Analysis System - a sensor fusion-based command and control system - up from $56.3 milliothis year;
  • $66.4 milliofor Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS) ground-support equipment, dowfrom $94.8 milliothis year;
  • $60.8 milliofor the battlefield digitizatioApplique program, up from $56.2 milliothis year;

    The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps combined are set to take the biggest cut in electronics and communications spending next year. The two services together received nearly $2.5 billion in this area for 2000, but are requesting less than $1.8 billion for next year n a cut of almost 30 percent.

    The 2001 Navy request is nearly 1.5 billion, a drop of $458.5 million from last year's authorization of more than $1.9 billion. The Marine Corps, meanwhile, is asking for $272.3 million in 2001 - a halving of the service's last-year authorization of $544.9 million.

    Highlights of proposed Navy electronics and communications spending next year include:

    • $252.7 milliofor satellite communications systems - a new budget line for 2001;

      Highlights of proposed Marine Corps electronics and communications spending next year include:

      • $80.7 million for common computer resources, down from $104.1 million last year;
      • 14.4 million for night-vision equipment, down from $17.4 million last year; and
      • $12 million for intelligence support equipment, down from $19 million last year.

      The U.S. Air Force is asking for $1.1 billion for electronics and telecommunications equipment in 2001, which is up $62.1 million from the slightly more than $1 billion the service received this year. Proposed Air Force expenditures next year include:

      • $177.3 milliofor base informatioinfrastructure, up from $136.6 milliolast year;
      • $74.8 milliofor automatic data processing equipment, dowfrom $81.8 milliolast year;
      • $58.7 millioto support the National Airspace System, up from $45 milliolast year;
      • $56.8 milliofor the Theater Battle Management Command and Control System, up from $47.2 milliolast year;
      • $53 millioto support a communications satellite system called MILSATCOM, up from $41.9 milliolast year;
      • $39.1 millioto support the Air Force Satellite Control Network, up from $31.3 milliolast year;
      • $34.5 milliofor the Air Force Physical Security System, up from $32.2 milliolast year; and
      • $33.5 milliofor weather observatioand forecasting equipment, up from $28.1 milliolast year.

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