A Profile of Defense Science & Tech Spending

Annual spending on defense science and technology has “grown substantially” over the past four decades from $2.3 billion in FY1978 to $13.4 billion in FY2018 or by nearly 90% in constant dollars, according to a new report from the Congressional Research Service.

Defense science and technology refers to the early stages of military research and development, including basic research (known by its budget code 6.1), applied research (6.2) and advanced technology development (6.3).

“While there is little direct opposition to Defense S&T spending in its own right,” the CRS report says, “there is intense competition for available dollars in the appropriations process,” such that sustained R&D spending is never guaranteed.

Still, “some have questioned the effectiveness of defense investments in R&D.”

CRS takes note of a 2012 article published by the Center for American Progress which argued that military spending was an inefficient way to spur innovation and that the growing sophistication of military technology was poorly suited to meet some low-tech threats such as improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Iraq and Afghanistan (as discussed in an earlier article in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists).

The new CRS report presents an overview of the defense science and tech budget, its role in national defense, and questions about its proper size and proportion. See Defense Science and Technology Funding, February 21, 2018,

Other new and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service include the following.

Armed Conflict in Syria: Overview and U.S. Response, updated February 16, 2018

Jordan: Background and U.S. Relations, updated February 16, 2018

Bahrain: Reform, Security, and U.S. Policy, updated February 15, 2018

Potential Options for Electric Power Resiliency in the U.S. Virgin Islands, February 14, 2018

U.S. Manufacturing in International Perspective, updated February 21, 2018

Methane and Other Air Pollution Issues in Natural Gas Systems, updated February 15, 2018

Where Can Corporations Be Sued for Patent Infringement? Part ICRS Legal Sidebar, February 20, 2018

How Broad A Shield? A Brief Overview of Section 230 of the Communications Decency ActCRS Legal Sidebar, February 21, 2018

Russians Indicted for Online Election TrollingCRS Legal Sidebar, February 21, 2018

Hunting and Fishing on Federal Lands and Waters: Overview and Issues for Congress, February 14, 2018

58 Nobel Laureates Urge Congress to Halt Budget Cuts to Science Research

A group of 58 U.S. Nobel Laureates is urging members of Congress to preserve federal funding of long term scientific research for the 2014 fiscal year budget. Today, President Obama released the FY2014 budget, which is sent to Congress for approval and allocation.  With sequestration cuts to agencies which support scientific research and development including the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the United States is at risk of falling behind other countries in the development of science and technology.

The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) released the letter which was written by Dr. Burton Richter, winner of the 1976 Nobel Prize in physics, and signed by 58 U.S. Nobel Laureates, many of whom serve on FAS’s Board of Sponsors. Dr. Richter writes that “there is a bipartisan agreement on the importance of federal funding of long-term scientific research. The agreement exists because of recognition that this sort of research fuels the innovation engine that is essential to our economy. The entire federal research, development and demonstration enterprise amounts today to about one percent of our Gross Domestic Product and has steadily fallen over the years, while our rivals in Europe and Asia invest more.”

Dr. Richter underscores the importance of long-term scientific funding for future generations, stating that, “we Nobel Laureates are likely to do well in competition for a reduced level of funding. Our concern is for the younger generation who will be behind the innovations and earn the Prizes of the future.”

“The United States has far surpassed other nations in Nobel Prize winners in the sciences. The ability to foster such talent will be undermined with continued erosion of federal support,” said FAS President Charles D. Ferguson. “FAS is proud to circulate this letter on behalf of Dr. Richter and the Nobel Laureates to raise awareness of potential budget cuts to the United States science industry and future generations of scientists.”

Read the article in the New York Times regarding the letter here.

Click here for the PDF version of the letter or see full text below.

April 9, 2013

Dear Members of Congress:

With the delivery of the President’s budget on April 10, Congress will begin the process of allocating funds to all the areas in the Federal Budget. One of those areas is long-term research and development in the agencies that fund the backbone of the U.S. scientific enterprise: National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, National Institute of Standards and Technology as well as parts of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Department of Defense. There is a bipartisan agreement on the importance of federal funding of long-term scientific research. The President emphasized it in his State of the Union speech and Majority Leader Cantor emphasized it in a recent speech at the American Enterprise Institute. The agreement exists because of recognition that this sort of research fuels the innovation engine that is essential to our economy. The entire federal research, development and demonstration enterprise amounts today to about one percent of our Gross Domestic Product and has steadily fallen over the years, while our rivals in Europe and Asia invest more.

We Nobel Laureates are likely to do well in competition for a reduced level of funding. Our concern is for the younger generation who will be behind the innovations and earn the Prizes of the future. We urge you, even in these financially troubled times, to keep the budgets of the agencies that support science at a level that will keep the pipelines full of the younger generation upon whom our economic vitality will rest in future years.

Respectfully,

Dr. Burton Richter

Stanford Linear Accelerator Center

1976 Nobel Prize in physics

Dr. Peter Agre

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

2003 Nobel Prize in chemistry

Dr. Sidney Altman

Yale University

1989 Nobel Prize in chemistry

Dr. Kenneth J. Arrow

Stanford University

1972 Nobel Prize in economic science

Dr. David Baltimore

California Institute of Technology

1975 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine

Dr. Bruce Beutler

UT Southwestern Medical Center

2011 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine

Dr. J. Michael Bishop

University of California, San Francisco

1989 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine

Dr. Gunter Blobel

The Rockefeller University

1999 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine

Dr. Michael Brown

University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

1985 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine

Dr. Thomas Cech

University of Colorado Boulder

1989 Nobel Prize in chemistry

Dr. Martin Chalfie

Columbia University

2008 Nobel Prize in chemistry

Dr. Stanley Cohen

Vanderbilt University

1986 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine

Dr. Leon N. Cooper

Brown University

1972 Nobel Prize in physics

Dr. James W. Cronin

Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics

1980 Nobel Prize in physics

Dr. Robert Curl Jr.

Rice University

1996 Nobel Prize in chemistry

Dr. Johann Deisenhofer

University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

1998 Nobel Prize in chemistry

Dr. Andrew Fire

Stanford University School of Medicine

2006 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine

Dr. Jerome Friedman

MIT

1990 Nobel Prize in physics

Dr. Walter Gilbert

Harvard University Professor Emeritus

1980 Nobel Prize in chemistry

Dr. Sheldon Lee Glashow

Harvard University

1979 Nobel Prize in physics

Dr. Roy Glauber

Harvard University

2006 Nobel Prize in physics

Dr. Carol Greider

Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

2009 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine

Dr. David J. Gross

University of California, Santa Barbara

2004 Nobel Prize in physics

Dr. Roger Guillemin

Salk Institute

1977 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine

Dr. John L. Hall

University of Colorado

2005 Nobel Prize in physics

Dr. Leland Hartwell

Center for Sustainable Health, Arizona State University

2001 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine

Dr. Dudley R. Herschbach

Harvard University

1986 Nobel Prize in chemistry

Dr. Roald Hoffmann

Cornell University

1981 Nobel Prize in chemistry

Dr. Louis J. Ignarro

UCLA School of Medicine

1998 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine

Dr. Wolfgang Ketterle

MIT

2001 Nobel Prize in physics

Dr. Brian Kobilka

Stanford University School of Medicine

2012 Nobel Prize in chemistry

Dr. Walter Kohn

University of California, Santa Barbara

1998 Nobel Prize in chemistry

Dr. Roger Kornberg

Stanford University School of Medicine

2006 Nobel Prize in chemistry

Dr. Leon Lederman

University of Chicago

1988 Nobel Prize in physics

Dr. Robert Lefkowitz

Duke University Medical Center

2012 Nobel Prize in chemistry

Dr. Eric Maskin

Harvard University

2007 Nobel Prize in economic science

Dr. John Mather

University of Maryland and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

2006 Nobel Prize in physics

Dr. Craig Mello

University of Massachusetts Medical School

2006 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine

Dr. Mario Molina

University of California San Diego

1985 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Dr. Ferid Murad

George Washington University

1998 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine

Dr. Douglas Osheroff

Stanford University

1996 Nobel Prize in physics

Dr. Martin Perl

Stanford Linear Accelerator Center

1995 Nobel Prize in physics

Dr. Saul Perlmutter

University of California, Berkley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

2011 Nobel Prize in physics

Dr. William Phillips

Joint Quantum Institute

1997 Nobel Prize in physics

Dr. David Politzer

Caltech

2004 Nobel Prize in physics

Dr. Adam Riess

Johns Hopkins University

2011 Nobel Prize in physics

Dr. Richard Roberts

New England Biolabs

1993 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine

Dr. Brian P. Schmidt

The Australian National University

2011 Nobel Prize in physics

Dr. Phillip Sharp

Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research

1993 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine

Dr. Hamilton Smith

J. Craig Venter Institute

1978 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine

Dr. George F. Smoot

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

2006 Nobel Prize in physics

Dr. Thomas Steitz

Yale University

2009 Nobel Prize in chemistry

Dr. Steven Weinberg

University of Texas at Austin

1979 Nobel Prize in physics

Dr. Carl E. Wieman

University of British Columbia

2001 Nobel Prize in physics

Dr. Eric Wieschaus

Princeton University

1995 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine

Dr. Torsten Wiesel

Rockefeller University

1981 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine

Dr. Frank Wilczek

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

2004 Nobel Prize in physics

Dr. Robert W. Wilson

Bell Laboratories

1978 Nobel Prize in physics