The fiscal year 2014 budget has now been approved, so the clear winners and losers in the realm of C4ISR and defense networks have emerged. With the budget trending downward, most key programs will receive less money this year. So any programs that saw their funding remain flat would have to be considered winners. The following examines some of the winners and losers in this year’s defense budget.
WINNER: Global Hawk Block 30. The budget requires the Air Force to maintain the operational capability of each aircraft. In addition, $10 million was provided to conduct a study on the potential adaptation of U-2 sensors to the Global Hawk Block 30 airframe for flight test and demonstration.
LOSER: Distributed Common Ground System-Army. $267 million was requested for the program, which processes and disseminates intelligence data, and received only $111 million--a reduction of about $156 million. That’s down more than 60 percent.
WINNER: The Air Force’s MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aircraft. The DoD requested about $272 million for the armed vehicle and received about $349 million. The service will use the money to buy eight more MQ-9’s.
LOSER: Joint Battle Command-Platform. JBC-P will be the principal command and control system for the Army and Marine Corps, and is the follow-on program of record to Blue Force Tracker. The Army requested about $103 million but received only about $70 million, a 32 percent reduction.
WINNER: High Performance Computing Modernization Program. This program is charged with modernizing and delivering the Defense Departments’s high-performance computing capabilities for science and technology, as well as and test and evaluation needs. The DoD operates five supercomputing resource centers. The military requested about $181 million for the program and received about $221 million, a healthy increase of about 19 percent.
WINNER: Common Data Link. The budget supports increased competition for common data link (CDL) devices, which are needed for securely conveying intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance information in the field. The goal is to eliminate reliance on proprietary solutions for CDL.
WINNER: STEM Education and STARBASE. The budget includes $25 million for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and does not change the STARBASE program, which “exposes youth to the technological environments and positive role models found on military bases and installations,” according to the STARBASE webssite.