The New York Times has an interesting OpEd today from former secretary of defense William Perry and his former undersecretary John Deutch on the lack of support for basic research, applied research and advanced technology development (collectively, “Defense Science and Technology”) at the Department of Defense.
Of the Pentagon’s $419.3 billion budget request for next year, only about $10.5 billion – 2 percent – will go toward basic research, applied research and advanced technology development. This represents a 20 percent reduction from last year, a drastic cutback that threatens the long-term security of the nation. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld should reconsider this request, and if he does not, Congress should restore the cut.
These research and development activities, known as the “technology base” program, are a vital part of the United States defense program. For good reason: the tech base is America’s investment in the future. Over the years, tech base activities have yielded advances in scientific and engineering knowledge that have given United States forces the technological superiority that is responsible in large measure for their current dominance in conventional military power.
While it’s not earth-shattering that members of the previous administration might question the priorities of the current administration, the OpEd adds to the chorus of voices expressing concern about DOD R&D trends.
Worth reading the whole thing.
And watch this space for news of yet another influential voice raising concerns….