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FYI Number 28: March 10, 2005

AIP Endorses Statement Calling for Higher Defense S&T Spending

The American Institute of Physics and several of its Member Societies belong to the Coalition for National Security Research. The coalition advocates for defense science and technology spending, and annually prepares a recommendation on total funding for the 6.1 (basic research), 6.2 (applied research), and 6.3 (advanced technology development) programs.

In its FY 2006 budget submission to Congress, the Bush Administration requested a 21.1% cut in overall funding for these three programs as compared to current spending. Under this request, funding would decline from $13,329 million to $10,522 million (see http://www.aip.org/fyi/2005/018.html .)

The last Quadrennial Defense Review, drawing on a recommendation of the Defense Science Board, recommended that 3.0% of the total Defense Department budget be allocated for the three S&T programs. Currently, the level is 2.6%; under the proposed budget that figure would drop to 2.5%.

AIP, the American Physical Society, and the Optical Society of America (two of AIP's Member Societies) have endorsed the FY 2006 Coalition for National Security Research funding statement which calls for 3.0% of the Defense Department budget to be allocated to these three S&T programs. This statement follows:

"The Coalition for National Security Research (CNSR) strongly urges the Administration and Congress to provide a robust and stable investment in the Science and Technology (S&T) programs of the Department of Defense. These programs play a crucial role in protecting and equipping America's future fighting force.

"CNSR urges a renewed commitment to the Department's basic science program. The coalition recommends an increase in funding to not less than three percent of total DoD spending for the department's competitively awarded merit-reviewed S&T programs in FY 2006. Further, CNSR encourages Congress and the Administration to endeavor to begin efforts to increase the portion of the portfolio dedicated to basic research to return it to the level that served it well during past conflicts, 20% of total S&T spending.

"CNSR's funding recommendation embraces the recommendation of the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), and is based upon the President's Fiscal Year 2006 request for the Department of Defense. The QDR states: "To provide the basic research for these capabilities [technological superiority], the QDR calls for a significant increase in funding for S&T programs to a level of three percent of DOD spending per year."

"The defense S&T program consists of three accounts: basic (6.1), applied (6.2) and advanced technology development (6.3). These accounts have provided, and will continue to provide, transformational capabilities to ensure our national security and protect our homeland while educating the future defense science and engineering workforce. As our armed services fight the Global War on Terrorism, they increasingly rely on technology to help defeat the asymmetric threats posed by the terrorists. The technologies that address these threats - such as rapid multilingual support devices, laser-guided munitions, global positioning systems, and the thermobaric bomb - share a provenance in pioneering defense research. Unfortunately, the accounts that fund these programs have remained essentially flat in constant dollars over the last few decades. National security challenges posed by unforeseen and unpredictable threats demand continued innovation, requiring a consistently strong investment in S&T programs.

"CNSR also recognizes that a talented cadre of highly skilled S&T professionals serving the research mission of the Department is essential to the future warfighting capabilities of the American military. Unfortunately, fewer students are pursuing advanced degrees in engineering, mathematics, and physical, computer and behavioral sciences, areas that contribute significantly to national defense. These sciences fuel innovation and assist in training the workforce that will maintain and operate our weapons systems, ensure our information security and conduct critical, technical, intelligence work. DoD's need for personnel in these areas makes support of undergraduate and graduate education critical. The threat posed by a lack of students pursuing S&T careers is compounded by the fact that 57% of the civilian defense S&T workforce will be eligible for early or regular retirement in the next five years. Programs like the new National Defense Education Program will make an impact on these issues and deserve robust support.

"CNSR urges a renewed commitment to investing in basic science programs, as well as a focus on ensuring the future technical workforce, and recommends an increase for the core S&T programs - for a total of at least three percent of total DoD spending - to ensure our nation's security at home and abroad."

Richard M. Jones
Media and Government Relations Division
American Institute of Physics
fyi@aip.org
301-209-3095

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