$8.4 Billion Sought for Defense S&T in FY 2001 On Wednesday, the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee received testimony from Robert Parker, who is Deputy Director of the University of Southern California's Information Sciences Institute. Parker testified on behalf of the Coalition for National Security Research; among its member organizations are AIP, Optical Society of America, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Materials Research Society, and SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering.
Parker urged Congress to provide $8.4 billion for the 6.1, 6.2, and 6.3 programs in FY 2001, a recommendation based on the "Report of the Defense Science Board Task Force on Defense Science and Technology Base for the 21st Century." The current budget is $8.397 billion. The Clinton Administration requested $7.543 billion for next year.
Reports indicate that appropriations subcommittee chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) expressed agreement with Parker's testimony, and predicted that the subcommittee would be able to provide at least as much, and if available, perhaps more money for defense S&T in FY 2001 as it has for the current year.
Selected portions of Parker's testimony follow:
"CNSR strongly supports DoD's Science and Technology programs across all defense organizations, especially those defense research programs providing support to our nation's universities. The Department provides a critical investment in several disciplines including engineering, physical, mathematics, computer and behavioral sciences vital to our future security. In addition, defense S&T programs conducted at DoD and private sector laboratories create the technologies and processes that support DoD systems, organization, and personnel. Today's high technology systems are a result of DoD's past investment in research and technological innovation.
"Many crucial defense technologies have emerged from research conducted on university campuses and at DoD and private sector laboratories, including: radar, nuclear power, digital computers, semiconductor electronics, lasers, fiber optics, night vision, vaccines and drugs for malaria and other tropical diseases, the Global Positioning System, stealth and other advanced materials, computer-based visualization systems for training and for planning and conducting operations, and computer networking...."
"The President's budget request for the S&T program at DOD is only $7.6 billion, $700 million less than the appropriation made by Congress for FY 2000. But at the same time, the budget request emphasizes a goal of 'Modernizing Weapons Systems.' A reality, however, is that weapons modernization is not possible without the research that is the foundation of the technological advances upon which the military depends. The research successes of the past are what now allows the President to propose this goal. Without increased support for DoD's research programs, the ability of the military to modernize its weapons in the future will be severely jeopardized.
"For FY 2001, CNSR strongly urges Congress to strengthen the nation's national security investment by providing $8.4 billion for the Department's Science and Technology Programs. CNSR bases its recommendation on the Report of the Defense Science Board Task Force on Defense Science and Technology Base for the 21st Century, which established a minimum funding level for DoD's 6.1, 6.2, and 6.3 programs. When adjusted for inflation, their recommended minimum for FY 2001 is $8.4 billion.
"$8.4 billion for DoD's FY 2001 S&T program would support the scientific and engineering research that has produced today's preeminent U.S. forces, demonstrated most recently during Desert Storm and various peacekeeping missions. Continuing a stable investment in DOD's S&T programs will maintain this technologically superior force in the 21st Century.
"With continuing threats to national security a certainty, maintaining technological superiority will require a strong continuing research effort. The armed forces today not only must be ready to fight in conventional regional wars like the Gulf War; they also must be ready to undertake peacekeeping missions in hostile situations and to defend against unconventional threats such as terrorism, biological and chemical agents, and computer sabotage.
"In summary, in accordance with the recommendations of the Defense Science Board, CNSR hopes that you will agree to provide $8.4 billion total for DoD's science and technology programs in FY 2001. Although the Administration's total budget request for these programs was only $7.5 billion, we believe it is crucial for our national security that there should not be a decline in funding for these important programs."
Richard M. Jones
Public Information Division
American Institute of Physics