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
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
"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."