2023 Science, technology budget a mixed bag


Budget matters: 2023 budget for science and technology is mixed

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The Defense Department’s fiscal year 2023 budget proposal is a big win for research, development, test and evaluation — especially the science and technology portion of funding — according to senior officials. However, further analysis of demand and the impact of inflation indicates that the proposal falls short of the enacted budget for FY2022.

The 2023 budget proposal includes $130 billion for RDT&E, a 16% increase over the proposed 2022 defense budget. The part for science and technology – budget activity codes 6.1 to 6.3 – includes 16, $5 billion, a 12% increase, Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Heidi Shyu said during a webinar hosted by the National Defense Industry Association on April 20.

Shyu’s office would receive $1.6 billion in science and technology funding, a 21% increase. “So that’s a huge leap,” Shyu said.
Basic research for the entire Department of Defense is nearly $2.4 billion, an increase of 4%, and Shyu’s office would receive $244 million, an increase of 23%, under the proposed budget for 2023.

In terms of investment priorities, funding for Shyu’s office aligns with the 14 “critical technology areas” she outlined in a Feb. 1 memo.

Microelectronics – especially relocation – 5G, hypersonics, directed energy and integrated sensing and cyber top the list depending on funding.
Rear Adm. Lorin Selby, chief of naval research at the Office of Naval Research, said in the webinar that one-third of the Navy’s science and technology priorities align with the Office of Research and Engineering’s critical technology areas, and the others are from the Navy- central. Some of the Navy’s science and technology priorities for its proposed $2.6 billion funding include unmanned systems, sonar buoys, electric laser systems and tools to collect and merge live and virtual training data.

“We need tools that help us prioritize and focus on what humans should be focusing on and let machines do what machines can do,” Selby said. “That’s the one I’m overtaking.”

The Air Force’s $3.15 billion science and technology budget is allocated 25% to sustainable Air Force priorities – such as munitions, engines, aircraft power, nuclear systems and low observability technologies – and 75% for critical technology areas. Space Force priorities include combat power projection, information mobility, and space security.

For 2023, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is seeking $896 million for microelectronics — which is largely driven by the next phase of the agency’s electronics resurgence initiative to promote offshoring — $414 million. $412 million for biotechnology, $412 million for artificial intelligence, $184 million for cyber, and $90 million for hypersonics.

The Army’s $2.7 billion budget for science and technology focuses on six long-standing modernization priorities, such as long-range sniping, future vertical lift, and soldier lethality. Within this are priority research areas including disruptive energetics, hypersonic flight, autonomy, additive manufacturing and synthetic biology.

“There’s a world beyond 2030, and so we really need to start turning the pendulum back a bit and focus on these enabling technologies…to research and mature the technologies for what’s next,” said Jeffrey Singleton, chief technology officer in the office. of the Under Secretary of the Army.

Panelists highlighted efforts to broaden the pool of technology partners and invest in the future workforce. The Office of Research and Engineering’s budget for small business innovation research and small business technology transfer programs jumps to $191 million in the 2023 proposal. Officials also noted a increased funding for science, technology, engineering, and math education and historically black colleges and universities.

Selby argued that money is important, but there are structural issues that need to be addressed to ensure programs meet goals and advance technology. “Part of it is that we have many, many people who have a say in what happens to these different pots of money…there’s no single conductor,” he said. -he declares.

“So you’ve got multiple conductors trying to compete with each other…because we’re all operating with different incentives, different priorities, different budget timelines, different acquisition timelines, we have these missed opportunities left and right,” he added.

While the proposed 2023 budget represents significant increases in funding for science and technology over the president’s 2022 budget, the 2023 proposal falls far short of the enacted 2022 budget. As it often does, Congress appropriated more than was requested in the 2022 budget proposal.

For example, the 2023 request for $16.5 billion for science and technology funding is higher than the $14.7 billion requested in the President’s 2022 budget, but 13% less than the 18, Congressional $8 billion passed in 2022. Basic research demand in 2023 is 14 percent less than the nearly $2.6 billion Congress passed in 2022.

Under the 2023 proposal, funding for science and technology for the military is nearly 37% lower than funding enacted in 2022, and funding for the navy and air force is down 18% and 13% respectively.

DARPA — which accounts for 25% of Department of Defense science and technology funding — would get a 6% increase over its funding enacted in 2022. This is one of the few increases in science and technology funding. of technology compared to the adopted budget for 2022.

In addition to actual dollars being lower than the funding enacted in 2022, inflation will further reduce the President’s 2023 budget purchase.


Topics: Budget, Research and Development, Engineering Science and Technology

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