Budget Request Aligns Science With Strategy, Official Says
By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, April 18, 2012 The Defense Department’s fiscal 2013 budget request maintains science and technology spending in accordance with President Barack Obama’s strategic guidance for a smaller, leaner, more flexible and agile military, the Pentagon’s head of research and engineering told a Senate subcommittee yesterday.
The department’s fiscal 2013 request of $11.9 billion, down from $12.2 billion this year, maintains $2.1 billion for basic research; $2.8 billion to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to develop strategic concepts; $1 billion for countering weapons of mass destruction; and maintains science and technology funding in each of the military departments at about $2 billion, Zachary J. Lemnios, assistant secretary of defense for research and engineering, told the Senate Armed Services Committee’s emerging threats and capabilities subcommittee.
“I can assure this committee that we are all mindful of the budget pressures facing our nation,” Lemnios said in a prepared statement. “We have made a collective commitment to ensure that the taxpayers’ dollars provided to the department’s [science and technology] enterprise are invested wisely with a laser-like focus on needed capabilities for our national security.”
The budget request adds $700 million to enhance the services’ ability to operate jointly across all domains, Lemnios said. The funding would initiate an Air Force hypersonic cruise missile capability demonstration, accelerate the development of advanced electronic warfare concepts, accelerate technology development for the long range anti-ship missile program, and launch technology development efforts in anti-jam precision-guided munitions, he said.
Adjustments were made to increase funding in the priority areas of cyber, electronic warfare, robotics and advanced manufacturing by realigning funding in lower-priority areas, Lemnios said. The request also would increase investments in a next-generation, high-efficiency turbine engine, the Adaptive Versatile Engine Technology, he said.
Lemnios and representatives from each of the services also spoke of the importance of maintaining a highly capable workforce in DOD and service laboratories. “Most critical to the success of the laboratories and their ability to support the department’s mission is the workforce,” he said.
Of the tens of thousands of lab employees – military, civilian, and contracted – 9 percent hold doctorate degrees and 26 percent hold a master’s degree, Lemnios said. Special hiring authorities have allowed the department to maintain the high standard, he said, as well as build tomorrow’s workforce with the SMART internship program and support for students pursuing science, technology, engineering and math degrees.
Marilyn Freeman, deputy assistant secretary of the Army for research and technology, said that by maintaining the Army’s 22 labs and their 19,000-plus employees, the service can ensure it can address the specific challenges of soldiers.
“I hear often from the soldiers themselves that technology saved their lives and was critical to their remarkable accomplishments,” Freeman said. Such feedback motivates Army scientists and engineers to research, develop and add maturity to everything from armor to combat casualty care to air and ground vehicles to food and uniforms, she added.
“They apply their accumulated knowledge and expertise, experimental data, and innovative products to solve problems, enhance performance, provide new desired capabilities, and forecast what capabilities are within the realm of the possible for our Army,” she said.