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Defense: Science & Technology Hold Their Own

by Susan R. Morrissey
February 27, 2012 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 90, Issue 9

The Administration’s fiscal 2013 budget request proposes cuts to the largest shareholder of federal R&D support: the Department of Defense. DOD would receive $69.7 billion for research, development, test, and evaluation in 2013, down 4.4% from 2012. All R&D funds DOD receives include additional funds called Overseas Contingency Operations requests.

DOD’s R&D proposal includes some $11.9 billion for early-stage science and technology programs. Of that, $2.1 billion would go to basic research, essentially the same as for 2012. The high-priority areas here are cybersecurity, robotics, advanced learning, information access, biodefense, and cleaner and more efficient energy.

The other two science and technology programs would see lower funding in 2013: Applied research would drop 5.5%, or $261 million, to $4.5 billion, and advanced technology development would drop 2.7%, or $145 million, to $5.3 billion.

Other highlights of the 2013 DOD request include expanded support of advanced manufacturing R&D through new public-private partnerships in targeted technology areas. And for agencywide programs, including the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the budget request proposes a 5.4% increase, for total funding of $5.5 billion.

On the development side of R&D at DOD, funding for weapons-systems development activities would be reduced as systems mature and transition to the production phase.


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