The Senate has just passed H.R. 2863, the Department of Defense Appropriations
Bill for FY 2006. Funding for basic research and a recently established
education program for civilian scientists was increased because of an
amendment offered by Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and Susan Collins
(R-ME) and nine Republican and Democratic Members. The amendment passed
by voice vote earlier this week.
This amendment increased funding in the bill for the Army and Air Force
University Research Initiatives by an additional $10 million each and
a similar Navy program by $5 million. The SMART National Defense Education
Program received an additional $10 million. The DARPA University Research
Program in Cybersecurity received an additional $5 million. A future
FYI will provide the Senate's recommended levels of FY 2006 spending
for DOD's science and technology programs.
The Kennedy-Collins amendment also included the following language:
"It is the sense of the Senate that it should be a goal of the
Department of Defense to allocate to basic research programs each fiscal
year an amount equal to 15 percent of the funds available to the Department
of Defense for science and technology in such fiscal year." For
perspective, last year's figure was 11.6%, an amount $447 million short
of the 15% allocation target in the amendment.
The Kennedy-Collins amendment was cosponsored by the following senators:
Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), Elizabeth Dole (R-NC), Barbara Mikulski
(D-MD), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Joseph Lieberman
(D-CT), Jack Reed (D-RI), Paul Sarbanes (D-MD), and Lamar Alexander
Kennedy described the amendment and its rationale as follows:
"Mr. President, our military is first in the world,
because of the quality and training of our personnel and because of
the technological sophistication of our equipment and weaponry. A
large portion of the best civilian scientific minds in the Defense
Department are nearing retirement age.
"I rise to thank my colleagues for their support and
adoption of the amendment Senator Collins and I offered to ensure
that the Department maintains the workforce that it needs to stay
globally competitive and invests in crucial research and development
"Our amendment includes $10 million to double the committee's
funding for the Department's current SMART Scholars program, which
is essentially an ROTC program for the agency's civilian scientists.
This represents a $17.8 million increase over the $2.5 million funding
level provided last year the program's first year in existence.
"It increases by $30 million the Department' s funding
of basic research in science and technology, to ensure that its investment
in this field is maintained and our military technology remains the
best in the world.
"Our amendment provides sufficient funding for the full
cost of college scholarships and graduate fellowships for approximately
100 science, technology, engineering, and math students. It increases
basic research in the Army, Navy, Air Force, DARPA, and National Defense
Education Program. It is supported by more than 60 of the most prestigious
institutions of higher education in America.
"Defense Department-sponsored research has resulted
in stunningly sophisticated spy satellites, precision-guided munitions,
stealth equipment, and advanced radar. The research has also generated
new applications in the civilian economy. The best known example is
the Internet, originally a DARPA project.
"Advances in military technology often have their source
in the work of civilian scientists in Department of Defense laboratories.
Unfortunately, a large percentage of these scientists are nearing
retirement. Today, nearly one in three DOD civilian science, technical,
engineering, and mathematical employee is eligible to retire. In 7
years, 70 percent will be of retirement age.
"Another distressing fact is that the number of new
scientists being produced by our major universities at the doctoral
level each year has declined by 4 percent over the last decade. Many
of those who do graduate are ineligible to work on sensitive defense
matters, since more than a third of all science and engineering doctorate
degrees awarded at American universities go to foreign students.
"It is unlikely that retiring DOD scientists will be
replaced by current private industry employees. According to the National
Defense Industrial Association, over 5,000 science and engineering
positions are unfilled in private industry in defense-related fields.
"The Nation confronts a major math and science challenge
in elementary and secondary education and in higher education as well.
We are tied with Latvia for 28th in the industrialized world today
in math education, and that is far from good enough. We have fallen
from 3rd in the world to 15th in producing scientists and engineers.
Clearly, we need a new National Defense Education Act of the size
and scope passed nearly 50 years ago.
"At the very least, however, the legislation before
us needs to do more to maintain our military's technological advantage.
Last year, over 100 highly rated' SMART Scholar applications
were turned down because of insufficient funding. Our amendment has
sufficient funds to support every one of those talented young people
who want to learn and serve.
"It also increases the investment in basic research
in science and technology. Investments by DOD in science and technology
through the 1980s helped the United States win the cold war. But funding
for basic research in the physical sciences, math and engineering
has not kept pace with research in other areas. Federal funding for
life sciences has risen fourfold since the 1980s. Over the same period,
appropriations for the physical sciences, engineering, and mathematics
have remained essentially flat. Funding for basic research fell from
fiscal year 1993 to fiscal year 2004 by more than 10 percent in real
"The Defense Science Board has recommended that funding
for Science and Technology reach 3 percent of total defense spending,
and the administration and Congress have adopted this goal in the
past. The board also recommended that 2 percent of that amount be
dedicated to basic research. We must do better, and our amendment
makes progress on this issue.
"I thank my colleagues for recognizing the importance
of this amendment and for their support in its adoption. I hope that
we will continue to see similar increases in these programs in the