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

Richard M. Jones
Number 77 - May 31, 2012  |  Search FYI  |   FYI Archives  |   Subscribe to FYI

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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.”

Richard M. Jones
Government Relations Division
American Institute of Physics
rjones@aip.org
301-209-3095