President Urged to Submit Strong DOD R&D Request for FY 2001
There is wide support in Congress for a strong defense S&T budget. In February this year, the administration requested a cut in the FY 2000 DOD 6.1, 6.2 , and 6.3 budgets from the previous year's level. Not only did Congress reject this requested cut, it increased funding for these programs.
The October 18 letter is as follows:
"Dear Mr. President:
"The continued long-term erosion of defense science and technology (S&T) funding will have a devastating effect on the future capabilities of the armed forces of the United States. Therefore, we strongly urge you to request in the fiscal year 2001 and Future Years Defense Budget funding levels consistent with Section 214 of Public Law 105-261, which calls for an annual spending increase for the Defense Science and Technology Program of at least 2 percent above the rate of inflation.
"As recently as World War II, America's superior research power could overtake the enemy's technology through sudden spurts of scientific development. But today, defense technology development requires many years of research and development and the Nation no longer has the luxury of ramping up scientific research only during the times of crisis. Moreover, sudden spurts of activity followed by lulls contribute to overall costs with less effective results.
"The technology base for our stealthy aircraft, precision guided munitions, and command, control and communications capabilities used this year in Kosovo was developed in the 1970s and 1980s. The effectiveness of our weapon systems twenty years from now will depend on the quality of the defense research we fund today.
"Projected levels of spending are insufficient to ensure that the defense technology base remains strong and capable of providing the necessary foundation for the national defense. Total spending for the Department of Defense Science and Technology program has declined by almost 25 percent since 1993 (constant dollars). The decline is even more precipitous for the military services. For example, next year, spending for the Air Force Science and Technology program is projected to decline by 58 percent from its peak. This trend, if continued, will pose a serious threat to the national security of the next generation of Americans.
"Only a strong and invigorated defense technology base can ensure our Nation's security today and into the 21st century."
Richard M. Jones
Public Information Division
American Institute of Physics