Wednesday, May 25, 2005

House Armed Services Committee on the decline of DOD research

Committee markup of FY2006 appropriation bill.

American Institute of Physics commentary.

The committee regards defense science and technology investments as critical to maintaining U.S. military technological superiority in the face of growing and changing threats to U.S. national security interests around the world. The budget request is $2.2 billion (or 24 percent) less than the $13.1 billion provided for fiscal year 2005 and is approximately $28.0 million less than the fiscal year 2005 request ($240.0 million less when adjusted for inflation). The committee notes that the budget request is 2.5 percent of the total defense budget request (compared to 2.6 percent of the request in fiscal year 2005) and does not meet the goal of 3 percent established by the 2001 Quadrennial Defense Review...

The committee is deeply concerned about sustaining and maintaining DOD science and technology infrastructure, about the projected loss to the defense science and engineering work force over the next ten years of an estimated 13,000 scientists, mathematicians, engineers, and technicians, and about the actions necessary to enable the Department to recruit and maintain a skilled and trained defense science and engineering work force...

Despite the positive aspects of DOD's science and technology program, the committee is concerned about long-term projections for reductions in DOD science and technology as a percentage of total obligation authority, and in short-term trends in the science and technology accounts of some of the military departments and defense agencies. The committee cannot emphasize too strongly the need for the Department to maintain a strong and robustly funded science and technology program that will provide the advanced technologies needed to assure technical dominance of our armed forces on any current or future battlefield.



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