While the Senate Armed Services Committee approved its FY 2006 authorization
bill more than a month ago, it has not been possible to schedule time
on the Senate floor for consideration of this measure. It now appears
that the Senate will consider this bill after it returns from its July
4 recess, with debate likely to run a week or more. S. 1042 provides
important guidance for defense policy and budget decisions for the fiscal
year starting on October 1. The Defense Appropriations Bill provides
the actual funding.
Accompanying this bill is Senate Report 109-69 which contains the Senate
recommendations on many defense programs. The following are selections
from the report language pertaining to the overall level of S&T
funding, basic research, university programs, and a defense education
program. There are many other sections on specific programs not included
below, including language on the Small Business Innovation Research
Program, technology transition, the proposed use of basic research funding
for academic ship design, and computer science. The report can be accessed
at http://thomas.loc.gov/ under
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY:
"The committee notes the critical role that investments in defense
science and technology (S&T) and basic research play in developing
the revolutionary military capabilities of the future. These programs
also train the next generation of U.S. scientists, engineers, and technology
entrepreneurs who will maintain complex weapons and defense systems
and who will assist in solving future national security challenges.
The committee remains concerned about the overall funding level for
defense science and research. The committee notes that the fiscal year
2006 budget request for S&T is below the previous year's requested
level. If in any year from fiscal year 2001 to 2009 the budget request
for these research programs does not increase by 2 percent over inflation,
the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2000 (Public
Law 106-65) requires the Department of Defense to certify the impact
of the S&T budget on national security and to initiate a Defense
Science Board study assessing the impact of the proposed budget on defense
technology and the national defense.
"The committee notes that the recent National Research Council
report entitled Assessment of Department of Defense Basic Research'
a number of findings and recommendations. The report found that in
real terms the resources provided for Department of Defense basic research
have declined substantially over the past decade.' The report also found
that there has been a recent deemphasis on unfettered exploration'
in the basic research program, which historically has been a critical
enabler of the most important breakthroughs in military capabilities.'
The committee is troubled by the lack of support for real innovative
work at the Department, which could have serious consequences for the
development of necessary future military capabilities. Therefore, the
committee recommends an increase of over $30.0 million in the Department's
basic research accounts.
"The committee notes that the National Research Council report
also made a number of recommendations to improve the execution of the
basic research program. The committee directs the Secretary of Defense
to provide a report to the congressional defense committees no later
than March 1, 2006, which evaluates the National Research Council recommendations
to improve the Department's basic research program, and details a plan
and schedule for the implementation of appropriate recommendations.
"Finally, the committee has provided increases in the S&T
program to support specific focus areas in fiscal year 2006, including:
close to $50.0 million for unmanned systems; approximately $63.0 million
for power technology advances; nearly $116.0 million for force protection,
transformational technologies, and training innovations; $42.0 million
in manufacturing research and process technologies; over $105.0 million
to support counterterrorism efforts; and $68.0 million for combat casualty
care and military medicine, including a targeted $40.0 million for prevention,
mitigation, and treatment of blast injuries."
ARMY BASIC RESEARCH:
"the committee is concerned with the long term viability of the
defense research program, especially those efforts geared at developing
innovative solutions to address emerging and future challenges. Ongoing
work in the areas of materials and composites for flexible armor, neuroscience,
textiles with embedded sensors, efficient vehicle operations, and basic
terrain analysis modeling and simulation are a few of the many research
examples that contribute to meeting the needs of the warfighter. . .
ARMY UNIVERSITY RESEARCH:
"Significant advances in materials technologies, materials processing,
and secure communications require continued fundamental research to
serve as the building blocks for Army future combat systems. The committee
recommends an increase of $6.5 million in PE 61104A for university research,
including $2.0 million for strategic defense systems manufacturing technology
basic research; $2.5 million for expanded continuation of the nanotubes
optimized for lightweight exceptional strength composite project; $2.0
million for integrated systems in sensing, imaging, and communications
research to provide secure optical connections."
NAVY UNIVERSITY RESEARCH:
"The committee is concerned with the low priority placed on long-term
research on naval sciences by the Department of Defense. The development
of faster, more efficient, and durable systems for the naval environment
requires increases in targeted research on multifunctional advanced
composites, innovative sensors technology, advanced engineered materials,
and blast resistant composites. These research projects have the potential
to address current threats by providing energy absorbing ship hulls,
blast resistant grid and foam stiffened structures, and advanced remote
sensing at higher resolutions. Additional basic science in the pursuit
of breakthroughs at the intersection of engineering, computer science,
and neuroscience shows promise in providing seamless control of unmanned
systems. . . ."
NAVY SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY OUTREACH:
"As many future military systems continue to increase in technological
complexity, a robust workforce with discipline-specific scientific skills
and knowledge is necessary. The Navy's special needs in areas such as
ocean sciences, advanced materials, and electronics will be met through
the participation of current Navy laboratory personnel in training and
mentoring the next generation of scientists and engineers. Training
researchers and innovators is a long-term project requiring near-term
"The committee recommends an increase in PE 61152N of $3.0 million
to support continuation of a pilot program--Naval Research Science and
Technology for America's Readiness (N-Star). N-Star leverages the resources
and expertise available in Navy facilities to engage and mentor students
who have science and engineering aptitude and interests."
AIR FORCE BASIC SCIENCE:
"Innovative work supported by the Air Force basic research accounts
is key to ensuring that our military has future capabilities and equipment
to meet emerging threats. Applications such as air combat systems and
ground support optoelectronics have foundations in novel nanomaterials
used for the development of optical devices which are, in turn, components
of information processing systems. The ability to quickly, securely,
and reliably process information enables information dominance, one
of a number of broad defense objectives. . . . "
"Air Force missions in the areas of reducing time to target and
rapid response to global threats require basic and applied research
on missile propulsion systems. Research on hypersonic engine designs
have produced some early results over the last year. Design tools to
predict and monitor performance of propulsion and control systems are
needed, as are trained experts to move promising research forward. The
committee recommends an increase of $4.0 million in PE 61102F to expand
basic hypersonics research and to develop a strong academic program
in hypersonics flow physics."
DEFENSE EDUCATION PROGRAM (SMART):
"The committee recommends a provision that would modify the Science,
Mathematics and Research for Transformation (SMART) pilot program that
was initiated in the Ronald W. Reagan National Defense Authorization
Act for Fiscal Year 2005 (Public Law 108-375). The provision would make
the program permanent and would provide additional authorities to the
Department of Defense for implementation. Under the provision, the Department
could provide fellowship as well as scholarship assistance to individuals
pursuing technical degrees critical to national security. The provision
would allow the Department to award financial assistance directly to
an individual or to an administering entity, reducing the management
burden on the Department. The provision would modify Section 1105 of
the Ronald W. Reagan National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year
2005 (Public Law 108-375) to permit the Department to hire individuals
participating in the program, which would expedite security clearances
and other personnel processes."
"The committee established the SMART pilot scholarship program
in fiscal year 2005 to address growing deficiencies in the numbers and
types of scientists and engineers comprising our national security workforce.
The committee commends the Department for quickly implementing the pilot
program and notes that, in just the first year, hundreds of qualified
individuals submitted applications for approximately 30 available scholarships.
A permanent SMART program would maintain the committee's original goal
of providing targeted educational assistance to individuals seeking
a baccalaureate or an advanced degree in science and engineering disciplines
deemed critical to national security by the Department.
"The committee continues to believe that future U.S. technical
dominance relies on a rapid, well-managed infusion of defense science
and engineering personnel who are experts in 21st century defense-related
critical skills. The committee authorizes the Department's budget request
of $10.3 million for the SMART defense education program for fiscal
year 2006, which would more than double the number of scholarships and
fellowships available for the next school year."