The Department of Defense requested a 7.8% increase in its fiscal 2022 budget for IT, according to new analysis from data science company Govini.
According to the company, the increase comes mostly from the “general IT” spending subcategory, which would get an 8.4% boost to $5.6 billion, and “enterprise comms,” where spending rose by 23% to $2.3 billion. In total, the department requested $34.8 billion for IT, according to the analysis of the president’s budget request and other data published as part of Govini’s 8th annual “Federal Scorecard.”
Govini uses propriety machine learning to churn through massive data sets to inform its budget crunching. The 88-page document compares multiple years of DOD budget requests that outline different administrations’ defense spending against their stated priorities.
“I would’ve dearly loved to have this type of information readily available to me,” Bob Work, former deputy secretary of defense in the Obama administration and chairman of Govini’s board, said during a media roundtable unveiling the report. During his tenure, Work was a key strategist in developing the department’s new thinking on technology like artificial intelligence, and he said that the report showed progress in increasing AI spending.
For now, the fiscal 2022 budget request that the report analyzes is just that: a budget request that Congress still needs to approve before money can actually flow to the DOD. It does, however, serve as a blueprint for the budget and shows where the administration wants to put money. Lawmakers have criticized DOD’s own budget request summary on its IT spending, saying it was vague and lacked consistency in what counted as cyber and IT spending.
In the IT and Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) budget breakdown, other categories of increase include naval tactical comms by 2.8% to $2.6 billion, medical IT by 6.9% to $2.2 billion and an “other” category by 12.5% to $18.3 billion. SONAR, ground tactical comms and ISR sensors all decreased.
Jim Mitre, chief strategy officer at Govini, said that the increases continue a trend from the previous year that shows the importance of IT in war.
“The future character of warfare will be defined more by information than by hardware,” he said.