The House and Senate have completed work on their versions of the $401 billion FY 2004 National Defense Authorization bills. Both bills authorize cuts in funding for Basic Research (6.1) and Applied Research (6.2) programs, and significant increases in the Advanced Technology Development program (6.3). The bottom line: the authorization for total funding for all three programs remains basically unchanged as compared to the current year. This funding level is 2.7% of the total budget (as compared to the 3.0% recommendation in the Quadrennial Defense Review.)
It will be months before a final FY 2004 defense funding bill is passed. The authorizing legislation passed in both chambers last week provides guidance to the appropriators. It is important to realize that while the authorizing bills provide spending parameters they are not the final word. For example, last year the two authorizing bills called for changes of between -1.6% and +2.7% in 6.1 funding over the previous year. The final appropriations bill increased 6.1 funding by 8.7%. Last year's authorization bills would have cut 6.2 funding between 2.8% and 6.3%. The final appropriation was up 12.5%. A year ago the two authorizing bills recommended increases between 8.0% and 9.4% in 6.3 funding; the final appropriation was up 21.7%. Finally, last year's total authorization for all three programs was up in the two bills between 1.4% and 2.8%. The final total appropriation for the 6.1, 6.2, and 6.3 programs rose 16.2%.
Below are the recommended changes in funding for each program as compared to the current year. Note that in the figures below, "Defense-Wide" spending is NOT aggregate spending, which is listed first. Defense-Wide programs refer to DARPA and other defense labs.
Also below are summary excerpts from House and Senate committee publications. Full report language for these bills, H.R. 1588 and S. 1050 can be viewed in the Committee Reports section of the following Library of Congress site: http://thomas.loc.gov/
AGGREGATE 6.1 (basic research) funding: House down 5.4%; Senate down 3.0%
AGGREGATE 6.2 (applied research) funding: House down 8.1%; Senate down 11.0%
AGGREGATE 6.3 (advanced technology development) funding: House up 10.8%; Senate up 8.8%
TOTAL AGGREGATE 6.1, 6.2, and 6.3 funding: House up 1.1%; Senate down 0.6%
ARMY 6.1 funding: House up 45.5%; Senate up 15.6%
ARMY 6.2 funding: House down 11.9%; Senate down 16.4%
ARMY 6.3 funding: House down 11.5%; Senate down 17.5%
TOTAL AGGREGATE ARMY 6.1, 6.2, and 6.3 funding: House down 5.2%; Senate down 13.3%
NAVY 6.1 funding: House up 12.4%; Senate down 4.1%
NAVY 6.2 funding: House down 25.7%; Senate down 27.0%
NAVY 6.3 funding: House down 10.0%; Senate up 2.4%
TOTAL AGGREGATE NAVY 6.1, 6.2, and 6.3 funding: House down 11.7%; Senate down 10.6%
AIR FORCE 6.1 funding: House up 50.0%; Senate down 3.7%
AIR FORCE 6.2 funding: House down 4.3%; Senate down 8.9%
AIR FORCE 6.3 funding: House up 73.4%; Senate up 69.2%
TOTAL AGGREGATE AIR FORCE 6.1, 6.2, and 6.3 funding: House up 10.6%; Senate up 33.7%
DEFENSE-WIDE 6.1 funding: House down 64.2%; Senate down 10.1%
DEFENSE-WIDE 6.2 funding: House down 0.2%; Senate down 2.1%
DEFENSE WIDE 6.3 funding: House up 9.2%; Senate up 4.8%
TOTAL AGGREGATE DEFENSE-WIDE funding: House down 2.5%; Senate up 0.6%
The Senate Armed Services Committee report (108-046) summary language regarding science and technology follows:
"The committee commends the Department of Defense for its commitment to and robust budget submission for science and technology across the services and defense agencies. The Science and Technology Program budget request for fiscal year 2004 is $10.232 billion, or 2.69 percent of the overall Department of Defense request. Over the past two years the Department has increased its budget request for science and technology by nearly 25 percent, up from $7.8 billion in fiscal year 2002. The Department is moving towards meeting the Secretary of Defense's goal of funding the Science and Technology Program at 3 percent of the overall defense budget.
"The Department of Defense faces numerous competing priorities and operational demands. However, the committee notes that without a stable long-term investment in basic research and technology development, the recent display of the armed forces' technological advantages, such as precision weaponry, unmanned systems, smart munitions and increased situational awareness, would not have been possible. These technological success stories stand on the shoulders of decades of investment in core scientific disciplines such as chemistry, physics, materials research and information technology.
"The men and women of the armed forces rely upon the scientific and technological innovation funded within this bill for rapidly increasing capability on the battlefield. The transformation of the armed services depends upon enhancing our technological advantages in areas such as unmanned systems and technologies to combat terrorism and defeat weapons of mass destruction. Therefore, the committee recommends an increase of over $130.0 million in unmanned systems and an increase of more than $150.0 million in technologies to combat the threats of terrorism at home and abroad.
"While the Department is increasing its budget request for the Science and Technology Program, the committee remains concerned that the investment in basic research has remained stagnant and is too focused on near-term demands. Therefore, the committee recommends an increase of $50.0 million for basic research. In addition, the committee directs the Director of Defense Research and Engineering to commission a study by the National Academy of Sciences to assess the basic research portfolio of the services and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). This assessment should review the basic research portfolio in order to determine if the programs are consistent with the definitions of basic research in DoD regulation. This report is not intended to rate the worthiness of the basic research portfolio, but rather to determine whether the basic research portfolio needs to be realigned to be more consistent with the goals of traditional fundamental research activities.
"The committee recommends that the Department utilize all possible means to ensure that awards of grants and contracts for research and development programs are awarded through competitive, merit-based selection procedures."
There was not comparable House report committee language on science and technology. A committee summary of their bill states:
"Defense science and technology programs are critical to maintaining U.S. military technological superiority in the face of evolving threats to U.S. national security interests around the world. However, the Administration's budget request for science and technology of 2.7 percent of the total DOD budget does not meet the goal of three percent established by the 2001 Quadrennial Defense Review. In addition, the committee is concerned that the military services' science and technology budget requests are not sufficient to meet their transformation goals. As such, the committee recommends $10.9 billion ($662 million more than the Administration's request) for the DOD science and technology program, including $2 billion for the Army, $1 billion for the Navy, $2.3 billion for the Air Force, and $4.7 billion for Defense Agency science and technology (including $2.9 billion for DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency)."