Reductions eyed in DOD battle management and information technology spending

ARLINGTON, Va., 10 Nov. 2005. Pentagon spending for network-centric warfare technology over the next decade could see real declines, and at best will remain flat, say industry experts in a forecast of U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) spending from 2006 to 2016.

By John Keller

ARLINGTON, Va., 10 Nov. 2005. Pentagon spending for network-centric warfare technology over the next decade could see real declines, and at best will remain flat, say industry experts in a forecast of U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) spending from 2006 to 2016.

These spending projections for network-centric operations -- composed of military command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR); electronics and communications; and information technology (IT) -- are from the Government Electronics & Information Technology Association (GEIA) in Arlington, Va.

GEIA analysts unveiled their predictions at the organization's 2005 Vision Conference in October in Arlington, Va. The GEIA is part of the Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA).

Total spending for C4ISR research projects and procurement from 2006 to 2016 should be about $702 billion, according to GEIA analysts. About one-third of that will go to the U.S. Air Force, and the rest will go to the U.S. Army, Navy, and defense agencies, GEIA analysts say.

C4ISR spending includes programs such as the Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS), Transformational Satellite Communications System (TSAT), the Global Information Grid Bandwidth Expansion (GIG-BE), space programs, electronic warfare, and anti-submarine warfare.

The next decade will not be the best time for military C4ISR spending, GEIA analysts warn.

Spending for C4ISR programs should decline from $69.7 billion in 2006 to $59.2 billion in 2016 -- a decline of 15 percent over the next 10 years. These numbers are in constant dollars, which accounts for inflation.

During the same period, C4ISR procurement spending will decrease from $34.1 billion to $31.6 billion, while C4ISR research spending will decrease from $35.6 billion to $27.6 billion, GEIA analysts say.

Electronics and communications spending, which accounts for nearly a quarter of the C4ISR budget, also is expected to take a dip over the next decade.

The electronics and communications portion of DOD C4ISR spending should decrease from $16.4 billion in 2006 to $14.1 billion in 2016 -- a decline of 14 percent. In addition, these GEIA figures are in 2006 dollars, which does not account for inflation. Actual declines in electronics and communications spending could be even more severe.

During this period, electronics and communications procurement should decline from $8.1 billion to $7.3 billion, and related research and development spending should slide from $8.3 billion ton $6.8 billion, GEIA analysts say.

Examples of typical electronics and communications program in this area include tactical communications and electronics, base information infrastructure, information security, the JTRS, the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T), electronic warfare, and tactical operations centers.

One bright spot in future DOD spending for network-centric operations involves information technology, which includes programs such as the GIG-BE, Defense Information Systems Network (DISN), and the Guardnet XXI network.

IT spending is expected to rise from $30.1 billion in 2006 to $34.6 billion in 2016, an increase during the decade of 13 percent. These figures, however, are in non-inflation-adjusted 2006 dollars. The actual decade-long trend in IT spending could be flat, experts warn.

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