Warnings Issued on Funding Shortfalls in Civilian and Defense
former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich faulted the Bush Administration's
FY 2002 request for basic science funding during a hearing on the long-term
security of the United States. Also last week, a report released by the
Defense Science Board stated "the DoD should be requesting higher levels
of funding for the S&T program."
was one of a series of points he made on March 21 when testifying at
a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee on the FY 2002 Bush
Administration budget request for the Department of Defense. This hearing
centered on the Hart-Rudman National Security Report Commission report
summarized in FYIs #22 and 23.
Gingrich and former
Senator Gary Hart (D-CO), both commission members, discussed the commission's
latest report. Gingrich was the lead witness, giving emphatic testimony
about the security threats facing the United States. First on his list
was "homeland security" and the possibility of a weapon of mass destruction
or mass disruption being used on American soil.
He then testified:
commission unanimously agreed that the challenge to us in scientific
research and in math and science education is a greater national security
problem than any likely conventional war in the foreseeable future.
And I really want to emphasize this. It's something Eisenhower said
in the '50s under the impetus of Sputnik; I think we're right back
at the same stand. The revolution in science requires larger investments
in basic research; we are not getting the money today. Second, the
inability of the United States today to produce enough high school
graduates who can do math and science is a long-term national security
issue. We cannot assume that we will be able to import enough people
to meet our science and technology demands for the next generation.
The report's pretty clear it's a very major challenge for us. And
I would hope that this committee would look at the National Science
Foundation budget, the NASA budget, the Department of Energy labs
as integral national security investments over and above the Department
of Defense, but as literally integral to our ability a decade from
now to produce high technology capabilities."
discussed specific challenges, stating:
a true revolution in scientific affairs, starting with nanoscale science
and technology, quantum mechanics and physics, and biology, which
will swamp the current revolution in military affairs. And I think
it's very important for this committee to work with DARPA to understand
the basic research level, and to get briefed by the National Science
Foundation on the scale of the change which is coming, which in my
judgment, after 2-1/2 years of being out of this body and going out
and listening to people, is probably as much change in the next 25
years as in the entire 20th century. And I would particularly commend
to the committee to go to the Ames NASA Laboratory and just spend
a half day getting briefed on what they're doing combining supercomputing,
nanoscale science and technology, and biology, which is, I think,
the most interesting single facility in the United States. It's at
Moffett Field near Stanford.
I think that it's important for this committee to look at the service
budgets and insist on deep experimentation now with new technologies.
One example. We have a capacity in remotely piloted vehicle technology
which should empower every ship to know several hundred miles inland
what's going on by using non-piloted vehicles with very long loiter
capability in a way which just dramatically expands our intelligence
continue to finance the systems that they're comfortable with, continue
to finance the systems that maintain the rhythm of the past, and it
is very difficult to get them to push money into these systems. And
let me just say, before anyone starts complaining about the tight
budgets, go back and look at experimentation in the 1930s with budgets
that were literally 15 to 20 times tighter than these budgets. The
system simply has to force itself to set aside a significant percentage
of each annual budget to finance military-oriented, real experimentation
with the technology of the future."
Gingrich then called for DARPA funding to be returned to its former
peak constant dollar level, stating:
that, let me also say that when we talk budgets, the committee should
go back and find out, at its peak in constant dollars, how much did
DARPA have. If you'll remember, it was originally called ARPA, the
Advanced Research Projects Agency. It is the base of the Internet.
It had vastly more money in real value 20 years ago, it had more freedom,
and it was more basic research. Over the last 20 years, we've gradually
shoved it into basically supporting much more short-term goals. So
part of the budgeting should include getting DARPA back up to its
constant dollar value at its peak."
then turned to the Bush Administration's request in its budget blueprint
for basic science funding. He told the committee:
"Let me also
say I'll be writing a letter to [House Science] Chairman Boehlert
making the same point in terms of basic science. I think it was clearly
not correct for the long-term security of this country to not increase
the basic science funding in the budget that was sent up recently."
He called on the committee to work with the Bush Administration on
getting "what the amount ought to be" in the next year's budget.
DEFENSE SCIENCE BOARD:
A provision in
the FY 2000 defense bill required the Defense Science Board (DSB) to
report on the adequacy of DOD's FY 2001 Science and Technology Program
budget requests. The DSB based their assessment on conclusions drawn
in an earlier report. Their most recent findings and recommendations,
dated 1 June 2000, but just released, are as follows: "In examining
trends of the S&T Program funding...it is evident that the budget requests
of FY97 to FY01 have not been keeping up with inflation much less increasing
at 2% over inflation." A non-binding sense of the Congress provision
in the FY 2000 law stated that S&T funding should increase 2% over inflation
each year. The DSB calculated that S&T funding for FY 2001 should have
been nearly $10 billion; the actual appropriation was $9,063 million.
how much U.S. high technology industries spent on research in 1998,
the DSB stated in this latest report: "it would appear that if the
Department of Defense wants to continue to have a high technology military
capability in the future, the DoD should be requesting higher levels
of funding for the S&T program."
The report continues:
"If the DoD does not pursue a strong forward looking S&T Program, it
runs the danger of ultimately falling behind potential challengers employing
novel unsymmetrical military challenges."