Defense Department Should Refocus Technology Spending, Experts Warn

By Erwin, Sandra I. | National Defense, November 2007 | Go to article overview

Defense Department Should Refocus Technology Spending, Experts Warn


Erwin, Sandra I., National Defense


THE PENTAGON'S RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT BUDGET HAS NEVER been bigger. Despite such largesse, investments in technology tend to miss the mark and do little to enhance the United States' competitive standing as a high-tech powerhouse, said Pentagon advisors and outside analysts.

Defense research and developments budgets will exceed $8 billion in fiscal year 2008, of which about $12 billion will be allocated to long-term science and technology projects. Most of the funds pay for so-called "applied research" fir near-term needs - including modifications of existing waepon systems and war-related projects susch as technologices to help troops detect and disarm roadside bombs.

But despite a steady rise in R&D spending, the Defense Department has not been able to replicate the technological success witnessed during the Cold War, when the Pentagon delivered a string of breakthrough technologies that, to this day, continue to provide military forces major advantages, such as unmanned aircraft, cruise missles, strealth and Global Positoning System satellites.

The problem today appears to be a "lack of strategic direction," said an April 2007 report by the Defense Science Board, a seniorlevel advisory panel.

"The Defense Department science and technology programs are not well positioned to meet the nation's strategic challenges," the panel wrote. Further, the Pentagon "needs to understand the technological possibilities available to the United States and the options available to adversaries."

R&D funding priorities come under particualry tough criticism from the science board. The panel carps repeatedly about the Defense Department cutting science and a technology budgets and shirting funds to applied research and other accounts. While these financial maneuvers may help pay for immediate needs, they undermine long-term U.S. strategic goals, the DSB said. "In recent years, there has been a shift in Defense Department R&D from research into development."

During the past 40 years, the panel said, "The resources devoted to basic research have been cut in half, as a percentage of Defense Department science and technology (S&T) funding, from 25 to 12 percent."

As a result, in many science and technology fields, the Defense Department no longer leads the world. According to the DSB, among G-8 nations, 50 percent of S&T investments are made outside the United States, 36.5 percent by U.S. commercial firms, 7 percent by other U.S. government agencies and 6.5 percent by the Defense Department.

"Currendy only about half of the worlds investment in R&D is performed in the United States and this percentage is getting smaller," the DSB report said. Approximately 27 percent of U.S. research and development is funded by the federal government and less than half of that is fimded by the Defense Department. Overall, federal R&D dollars have been flat for 30 years and have decreased from a 1997 peak.

Given its diminishing clout as a developer of advanced technology, the Pentagon must learn how to take advantage of what odier organizations provide, the DSB said. "If the Defense Department wants to be a leader in using technology, it needs to become very adept at finding and using globally available resources, whether funded by industry or academia or other government agencies."

The warnings of the Defense Science Board also were echoed by Navy secretary Donald C. Winter in a recent speech at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's technology symposium in Anaheim, Calif.

But Winter also cautioned that a techno-centric view of the world is not helpful in the context of current wars.

"America's technological superiority has thus far not proven decisive in this war," Winter said. "Because of the stark differences in literacy rates, in economic development, and in technological advances between those seen in the West and the rest, we have a tendency to underestimate the ability of the enemy - whether a country or a nonstate actor - to use technology. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Defense Department Should Refocus Technology Spending, Experts Warn
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.