As mentioned previously in this space, the Task Force on the Future of American Innovation held a press conference for the release of the Benchmarks II report on Thursday. Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, David Abshire, President of the Center for the Study of the Presidency, and Larry Wortzel, Chairman of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission and Vice President for Foreign Policy at the Heritage Foundation addressed a full house of Congressional staff, reporters, and other interested members of the DC crowd. This years Benchmarks report, called Measuring the Moment: Innovation, National Security, and Economic Competitiveness, focused more on defense and homeland security related research than the previous report.
National Journals Technology Daily and GovExec.com both ran an article on the event and report. A bit from the article:
A group of high-tech leaders and national security experts is asking President Bush to include basic defense research in his American competitiveness initiative.
The Task Force on the Future of American Innovation backed the request Thursday with a new report that warns that while funding for military research and development is at a record high, recent increases have focused on applying existing ideas to new weapons and equipment.
“We have been under-investing in the basic research needed for the next-generation military technology,” the report warned. The task force was formed in 2004 to advocate for more federal support for research in the physical sciences and engineering
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said the long-term goal should be not just combating terrorism but leading in science by investing in national security advances. “Otherwise we’ll have opponents that have scientific capabilities we don’t understand,” Gingrich said.
He added that his biggest mistake as House speaker in the mid-1990s was not also tripling the National Science Foundation budget when Republicans doubled the National Institutes of Health budget.
Well keep you updated on the Task Forces activities, press coverage of the report, and any impact it might have moving forward as we work with the Congress through the end of the year and into the next budget cycle.
A PDF of the Benchmarks II report can be found here.