How Much Money is Right for DOD S&T?
The Administration requested a total of $7.4 billion for FY 2000, broken down as follows: 6.1 - Basic Research ($1.1 billion), 6.2 - Applied Research ($3.0 billion), and 6.3 - Advanced Technology Development ($3.3 billion). These three accounts have declined by about 30% in the last six years.
The $8 billion recommendation was the bottom line in the "Report of the Defense Science Board Task Force on Defense Science and Technology Base for the 21st Century." Issued in June 1998, the Task Force's conclusions have recently been cited by senators and by the Vice President of the Optical Society of America (a Member Society of the American Institute of Physics) (see forthcoming FYIs.) The task force was chaired by Professor Walter Morrow of MIT Lincoln Laboratory, with members from private industry and universities.
"How much DoD S&T (6.1, 6.2, and 6.3) is needed to maintain continued U.S. military capabilities considering U.S. and global civil technology?" was the first of five budget and management topics examined by the task force. Following eight briefings with officials from industrial R&D organizations, private associations, and U.S. and foreign government agencies, the task force found that "no formulas [were] used in any of the 12 major corporations surveyed. Instead of an objective formula, there was a fairly universal subjective approach, where the Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Technology Officer, and one or two others set the corporate levels of research and development investment." The task force discovered that "the most successful industries invest about 15% of sales in research and development with about 3.5% of sales invested in research (equivalent to the DoD S&T program). This would imply that, currently, DoD should invest at least $8 billion in S&T."
The report contains a number of Summary Observations, among which are the following:
"DoD S&T is vital to future of U.S. military balance of power. Over the past century, technical developments funded by the military have had an enormous impact on military capabilities and have been decisive in the outcome of conflicts."
"Current DoD science and technology funding (about 2.9% of total DoD funding) is somewhat less than the practice of those high- technology industries which are dependent on technology supremacy or patent monopolies for commercial success."
"Lower levels of DoD S&T funding could threaten future (20 years and beyond) dominance of US military forces."
Richard M. Jones
Public Information Division
American Institute of Physics