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DoD Preparing Fiscal 2004 Budget Request for White House

By Kathleen T. Rhem
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 21, 2002 – Defense Department officials are in the final stages of preparing the DoD fiscal 2004 budget request for the president, a senior adviser said today.

Stephen Cambone, director of program analysis and evaluation, explained the ongoing budget process today in a Pentagon media briefing. He said the military services were required to send DoD their budget priorities by Aug. 22.

From there, defense budget officials worked with service representatives to make sure the services' priorities were in line with the department's priorities.

Cambone said officials laid out all the possible options for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld early this month. He said the secretary and his staff are reviewing those options and will have a final budget request ready to send to the White House by early December,.

At that point, the federal Office of Management and Budget takes control of the process, he said.

Cambone described the Defense Department budget process as "very open." He said the services and defense staff members have "interacted quite freely and, I think, quite successfully in developing the proposals that were put forward."

The undersecretary gave no details about monetary figures or weapon systems, but said the Defense Department is looking to fund three major priorities: the global war on terrorism; transformation; and people and forces, which includes recruiting and retention, improving joint capabilities, and quality-of-life issues.

Research dollars will be going to develop several concepts and study their feasibility. Some of these include improving the Global Information Grid so it can carry larger amounts of data in a format that more people can use. Experts will be looking into the possibility of moving fiber optics into space to further communications capabilities, Cambone said.

Experts are also looking at space-based radar, which could conceivably allow persistent surveillance in areas of interest 24 hours a day. Cambone said such a surveillance system would need to be integrated with others, such as J-STARS and Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicles.

"If you're going to be precise in the application of your forces and bring about the desired effects, you need to be able to persistently surveil the environment in which you're operating," he said, noting it takes "a lot of bandwidth" to move so much data in real time.

Some issues the service are looking at: The Navy is looking to overhaul how it builds and designs ships, and the Army is hoping to equip its first Objective Force units by 2008, Cambone said. He also mentioned that combat air forces must transition from fighter and attack aircraft to a more capable stealth force.

He stressed Rumsfeld hasn't made decisions on issues regarding the 2004 budget, and officials won't be talking about numbers until he does.

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Related Sites:
DoD News Transcript: Director PA&E Cambone Briefing on Phase II of the Budget Rollout Plan, Nov. 21, 2002

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