The Defense Department has “dedicated an ever-smaller share” of dollars for research and development contracts over almost two decades, according to the Congressional Research Service.
R&D contracts issued by the Pentagon and the military services dropped to 8 percent of defense contract obligations last year from 15 percent in fiscal 2000 -- a period that tracks a shift to spending on weapons and other goods and contractor services that began with the war on terrorism and the 2003 invasion of Iraq, according to data cited by the nonpartisan agency in a report issued last week.
The statistics buttress the arguments of Pentagon leaders such as Michael Griffin, the new undersecretary for research and engineering, that the U.S. is rapidly losing its technological edge to competitors such as China. The Pentagon’s fiscal 2019 budget requested $91.1 billion for research and development, including the military services -- a 3.2 percent increase from the $88.3 billion Congress appropriated for this year.
The Senate Appropriations Committee reflected those concerns in its version of the defense spending bill, adding $4 billion by shifting funds to bring R&D funding to $95.1 billion. (end of excerpt)
Click here for the full story, on the Bloomberg News website.
Click here for the CRS report (29 PDF pages), hosted on the website of the Federation of American Scientists.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: While R&D funding has halved over the past two decades, it should not be forgotten that, over the same two decades, the Pentagon’s budget has more than doubled.
Consequently, as inflation has remained relatively low, the dollar amount earmarked for R&D has remained more or less stable.)