Defense budget request for 2013 chops $1.4 billion from IT programs

The Defense Department would slash information technology spending in 2013 by $1.4 billion, or 3.6 percent, to $37.2 billion, down from $38.6 billion in 2012, according to top-line figures the Office of Management and Budget released in its review of overall federal IT spending in the 2013 budget request.

The cuts include $300 million in expected savings from consolidating data centers, according to the Cuts, Consolidations and Savings section of the President's budget released today. The Pentagon has not yet released an overall IT budget for 2013, making it difficult to determine from what programs the other $700 million in cuts would come.

In its 2013 budget overview, the Pentagon said it expected to save $4.1 billion by consolidating information technology services over the next five years -- $1.4 billion from the Army, $1.6 billion from the Navy and $1.1 billion from the Air Force.

The Defense Information Systems Agency, which operates global networks and 14 data centers and provides information security for those networks and data centers, requested a budget of $1.9 billion in 2013, down $100 million from 2012.

Although President Obama and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta emphasized the importance of technology to enable a smaller force when they announced a new military strategy in January , the budget for major systems released today included a 25 percent cut in funding for command-and-control systems, a 20 percent cut in space systems, and a slight drop in science and technology investments.

The 2013 budget asked for $8.2 billion in funding for command-and-control systems, down $2.8 billion from 2012; $8 billion for space systems, down $2 billion from 2012; and $11.9 billion for science and technology investments, a $300 million decrease from 2012.

The troubled Joint Tactical Radio System, kicked off in 1997 to field software based radios, survived despite speculation it would be killed. The Pentagon requested $1 billion for the program in 2013, down 10 percent form 2012. The Army requested a 20 percent or $200 million increase in the 2013 budget for its broadband battlefield network, Warrior Information Network-Tactical to $1.2 billion next year from $1 billion in 2012.

The Pentagon requested a $786 million budget in 2013 for the Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite system designed to provide secure, anti-jam communications to commanders, down 17 percent from 2012. This would cover the procurement of a fifth satellite for the AEHF constellation. Defense also requested funding to purchase two advanced Global Positioning System satellites, which also incorporate anti-jam capabilities and also provide more accurate signals for civil users.