Help Requested in Support of Defense Authorization Amendment

Update July 22, 2005: Jason Van Wey of the Coalition for National Security Research (CNSR) has more on the effort to see the amendment passed, including the news that the amendment has picked up a number of important cosponsors. As of this morning, joining Collins and Kennedy on the amendment are Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), Elizabeth Dole (R-NC), Joe Lieberman (D-CT), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Rick Santorum (R-PA). Though this bipartisan list of co-sponsors bodes well for passage, your calls are still needed as the Senate works through the amendments to the Defense Authorization today and Monday!
Originally posted July 21, 2005: Word comes from AAU that Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) will introduce an amendment this afternoon to the FY 06 Defense Authorization bill under consideration today that would increase funding for a number of programs of interest to the computing research community, including a $10 million plus-up to “fundamental computer science and cybersecurity research at DARPA.” Senators need to be made aware of the amendment and urged to support it. Here are the details from AAU:

During Senate consideration today of the FY06 Defense Authorization Act (S. 1042), Senators Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and Susan Collins (R-ME) will offer an amendment to authorize additional funding for the Department of Defense SMART National Defense Education Program, a new scholarship and fellowship program aimed at attracting more students into science and engineering fields.  The amendment also provides additional authorization for basic research programs at U.S. universities.
CFR members are urged to contact their Senators to ask that they support the Kennedy/Collins amendment when it is considered on the Senate floor.
A copy of an AAU statement (pdf) supporting the amendment is attached, along with talking points prepared by the Senators’ offices and the text of the amendment.
The amendment would authorize an additional $50 million for university research and education programs at the Department of Defense. 
Specifically, the Kennedy/Collins amendment:

  • Increases the SMART National Defense Education Program by $10 million;
  • Increases the Army University Research Initiatives (URI) account by $10 million;
  • Increases the Navy University Research Initiatives (URI) account by $10 million;
  • Increases the Air Force University Research Initiatives (URI) account by $10 million; and
  • Increases the DARPA account by $10 million and specifies that money should be spent on fundamental research in computer science and cybersecurity.
    The amendment also includes a Sense of the Senate that the Department of Defense set a goal to invest 15 percent of its science and technology budget in basic research programs.  The current percentage varies between 11 percent and 12 percent. 

  • The amendment would “pay for” the increases — every funding increase in an amendment to the bill has to be offset by a reduction somewhere else — by reducing a planned $2 billion increase to the “defense-wide operations and maintenance fund for IT” by an equal amount.
    The university community here in DC (along with CRA) is mobilizing to contact senators about the amendment. More calls would surely help. Urge your senator (by phone) to support the Collins-Kennedy amendment to the FY 06 Defense Authorization Bill. The bill is on the floor today, so the time is now! We’ll have updates as developments warrant….
    Here’s a copy of the amendment as well as some talking points. Here’s AAU’s statement.