House Defense Authorization Bill Recommends Reduced Funding for S&T Programs

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Publication date: 
31 May 2012
Number: 
77

The  House-passed version of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2013 recommends  an overall 4.4 percent decrease in funding for the 6.1 Basic Research, 6.2  Applied Research, and 6.3 Advanced Technology Development programs.  The House passed this bill, H.R. 4310, on May  18.  The counterpart bill in the Senate  was passed in committee but the accompanying report has not been issued.

The House authorization bill establishes policy and  spending parameters for defense science and technology programs, but does not  provide actual funding.  That money is  provided by the FY 2013 Defense Appropriations Bill which was approved by House  appropriators in mid-May; the committee has not released the accompanying  report.

The House authorization bill, as outlined in the  accompanying House Report 112-479 recommends the following changes:

Total  Basic Research:

The FY 2012 appropriation was $2,116.5 million     The FY 2013 budget request was $2,116.9 million     The House authorization bill recommendation is $2,130.4  million, an increase of $13.9 million or 0.7 percent

Total  6.2 Applied Research:

The FY 2012 appropriation was $4,748.4 million     The FY 2013 budget request was $4,478.0 million     The House authorization bill recommendation is $4,498.3  million, a decrease of $250.1 million or 5.3 percent

Total  6.3 Advanced Technology Development:

The FY 2012 appropriation was $5,573.3 million     The FY 2013 budget request was $5,266.2 million     The House authorization bill recommendation is $5,266.2,  a decrease of $307.1 million or 5.5 percent

Total  6.1, 6.2, and 6.3:

The FY 2012 appropriation was $12,438.2 million     The FY 2013 budget request was $11,861.1 million     The House authorization bill recommendation is $11,894.9  million, a decrease of $543.3 million or 4.4 percent

Total  Army 6.1, 6.2, and 6.3:

The FY 2012 appropriation was $2,529.8 million     The FY 2013 budget request was $2,209.5 million     The House authorization bill recommendation is $2,219.8  million, a decrease of $310.0 million or 12.3 percent

Total  Navy 6.1, 6.2, and 6.3:

The FY 2012 appropriation was $2,122.3 million     The FY 2013 budget request was $1,979.7 million     The House authorization bill recommendation is $1,993.2  million, a decrease of $129.1 million or 6.1 percent

Total  Air Force 6.1, 6.2, and 6.3:

The FY 2012 appropriation was $2,378.7 million     The FY 2013 budget request was $2,221.8 million     The House authorization bill recommendation is $2,231.8  million, a decrease of $146.9 million or 6.2 percent

Total  Defense-Wide 6.1, 6.2, and 6.3:

The FY 2012 appropriation was $5,407.4 million     The FY 2013 budget request was $5,450.1 million     The House authorization bill recommendation is $5,450.1  million, an increase of $42.7 million or 0.8 percent

 

The Armed Services Committee issued House Report  112-479 to accompany its bill.  The  section on Title II: Research,  Development, Test and Evaluation starts on page 55.  Excerpts regarding the committee’s  recommendations regarding Basic Research and the National Defense Education  Program follow:

Basic  Research (page 80):

“The committee is aware that funding for basic  research is a critical component of the Department of Defense’s strategy for  maintaining technological superiority over future adversaries. While much of  the recent focus on supporting the warfighter has been on satisfying requests  for urgent operational needs, the committee recognizes that long-term  modernization needs also require investment and attention. Not only do these  basic research initiatives support cutting-edge scientific research, they also  contribute significantly to undergraduate scholarships and graduate research  fellowships that strengthen the U.S. scientific and technical workforce.

“The committee notes that a recent Defense Science  Board study has also determined that the Department’s basic research program is  valuable, comparable to other basic research programs in the government and  well-suited to the needs of the Department. Therefore, the committee encourages  the Department to continue to prioritize and protect these investments vital to  the sustained health and future modernization of the military”

National  Defense Education Program (page 95):

“The committee is aware that the Office of the  Secretary of Defense supports some K–12 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics  (STEM) educational activities through NDEP, as well as other programs to  support undergraduate and postgraduate fellowships. The committee recognizes  STEM as a critical capability for the Department, not just in providing a  pipeline of scientists and engineers for developing new capabilities, but also  for acquisition professionals and policy-makers that should educate consumers when  they make decisions about funding or pursuing new technologies. The committee  further emphasizes the Department’s growing need for a technically skilled  workforce in all positions, particularly its enlisted personnel. A recent  Council on Foreign Relations titled U.S. Education Reform and National  Security, stated the U.S. ‘shortage of skilled human capital both inflates  personnel costs and strains the military’s ability to develop and deploy  technologies that can deter sophisticated adversaries.’  It further states ‘Many U.S. generals caution  that too many new enlistees cannot     read training manuals for technologically  sophisticated equipment.  A former head  of the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command said that the lack of fully  qualified young people was ‘an imminent and menacing threat to our national  security.’ 

“The committee notes that some research indicates  that achieving certain math skills by the eighth grade is a critical  determinant for success in STEM fields. For that reason, the committee believes  that it is important for the Department to support K–12 STEM programs, as that  supports an increased pipeline of qualified individuals that may pursue  university degrees in STEM fields. The committee believes that K–12 STEM  programs are a long-term investment for the Department, and should protect  these investments even in a time of increased pressure on the Department’s  budget.  The committee also believes that  as the Department considers investments in K–12 STEM, it should ensure that  these programs are tied to a comprehensive Department-wide strategy, and are thoroughly  coordinated with other similar federal programs to avoid duplicative and  conflicting efforts. 

“The committee recommends $90.0 million, the full amount  requested . . . for the national defense education program.”

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