Army IT Day: Budget woes hinder network operations, says acquisition deputy

Money issues are pressing in on the Army, affecting how it will allocate funds for its network modernization plans. More importantly, budget uncertainties are forcing the service to address a financial shortfall that will have an immediate effect on day to day operations, said MG Harold J. Greene, Army deputy for acquisition and systems management.

While sequestration will take funds away from the Army, Greene is more worried about the continuing budget resolution—or the potential failure to pass one—later this March. Normally, the service would stick to its budget priorities and move money around to fund them under a continuing resolution, Greene said March 13 at AFCEA’s Army IT Day.

“Our challenge is we don’t have a budget so you can’t reprogram money that you don’t have,” he said.

Without additional funding, the Army faces an $18 billion shortfall for maintenance and operations, Greene said. He noted that this situation creates a complicated situation. Under a continuing resolution, the service can spend the lesser amount of the President’s budget or congressional funds, but it is restricted to spending at the previous year’s funding levels, he said.

Either way, the Army will have to meet overseas contingency costs of $6 billion and sequestration cuts of $5.38 billion. “We have no basis to do really good planning,” he said.

One of the issues is that Congress could provide a continuing resolution and offer a number of options for the Army. Greene noted that the service has plans based on submitted budgets, but in the current situation, it must figure out where the $18 billion to support ongoing operations will come from.

The money issues affect the Army’s IT resourcing. How the service funds its IT operations is complex, with many pools of funds supporting some 70 programs of record that plug into the Army’s network. “This is really complex. Our system is not set up to manage an enterprise,” Greene said.

While it is considering how to fund its operations, the Army is moving along with its plans to create a single network, Greene explained. The service is moving to an enterprise model that will allow it to use the network as a power projection platform. The Army is working with its Training and Doctrine Command to develop the operational concepts to make this type of network operation a reality, he said.

But the challenge will be integrating the Army’s various commands and internal organizations into a single enterprise. Part of this will require the service to move its data centers to a cloud-based model, Greene said.

About the Author

Henry Kenyon is a contributing writer for Defense Systems.

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