Before leaving Washington for a week-long Memorial
Day recess, the House Appropriations Committee approved its version
of the FY 2001 Defense appropriations bill for the Department of Defense
(DOD). [The full House approved the bill on June 7.] The Senate Appropriations
Committee sent its own version of the bill to the Senate floor earlier
in May. Both the House and Senate bills would provide substantial increases
for most DOD R&D programs, in contrast to the cuts requested by
the Pentagon and the Clinton Administration, with the House bill the
more generous of the two. DOD's R&D in FY 2001 would total $41.1
billion in the House bill, $2.5 billion more than the President's request
and $1.8 billion or 4.6 percent more than FY 2000 (see Tables
A and B). The House would provide [$438
million] more than the Senate's proposed 3.5 percent increase over FY
The House bill would boost DOD funding of basic
research ("6.1") by [$133 million or 11.5 percent] to $1.3
billion. The Senate would provide a smaller but still substantial
10.5 percent increase. The House and Senate would differ in their
treatment of applied research ("6.2") programs, however, with
the House allocating a slight cut to $3.4 billion while the Senate would
increase applied research by 6.1 percent to $3.6 billion. Both are well
above the requested cut to $3.1 billion. Including DOD's medical research
programs, DOD S&T ("6.1" through "6.3"
programs, representing DOD's investment in basic and applied research
and technology development) would increase by [1.8 percent] to $8.8
billion under both the House and Senate bills, considerably more than
the requested level of $7.6 billion.
Both the House and Senate Defense bills contain substantial increases for the overall DOD budget as well as for R&D programs, increases even larger than those proposed by the President in February. The $288 billion total for the House Defense bill, which funds most but not all of DOD, is $4 billion more than the request and more than $20 billion above the FY 2000 funding level.
The House bill would provide large increases for most
basic research ("6.1") accounts. DOD requested a 4.9
percent increase for "6.1" but the Senate would boost "6.1"
by 10.5 percent, and the House would go even higher with a [11.5 percent
increase] to $1.3 billion (see Table A).
Although there would be a slight cut in Army basic research (down [1.0
percent] to $202 million), Navy basic research (up 6.3 percent to $397
million) and Air Force basic research ([up 1.0 percent to $216 million])
would increase significantly. But the largest increase would go to "6.1"
in the Defense Agencies (DA), which would jump [30.1 percent to $479
million. Within DA "6.1," University Research Initiatives
would increase from $224 million to $290 million to fund university-based
projects across a broad range of science and engineering disciplines.]
In recent years, the Senate has proposed large increases to "6.1"
while the House has appropriated smaller increases or cuts, and final
appropriations have generally split the difference. But this year's
House-proposed large increases are a departure from the recent pattern,
and are a good sign of how basic research could fare in the final, compromise
The applied research ("6.2") accounts
total $3.4 billion in the House bill, a slight cut from the FY 2000
funding level but well above the request of $3.1 billion. As a result,
total DOD support of research (basic plus applied) would be $4.7 billion
[up 2.8 percent]), compared with a 7.2 percent increase in the Senate
The "6.1" and "6.2" research accounts provide a significant share of federal support for several key scientific and engineering disciplines. DOD provides nearly a third of all federal support for engineering research, and a majority of federal support for some key engineering subfields. DOD also provides more than 40 percent of total federal support for computer sciences research, and plays a strong funding role in other disciplines such as mathematics, oceanography, medical sciences, chemistry, physics, and environmental sciences.
The "6.1" and "6.2" accounts are especially important for the nation's colleges and universities, which perform more than half of "6.1" research and roughly 20 percent of "6.2" research. DOD is the third largest sponsor of federal R&D at colleges and universities, behind only the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. DOD's impact, however, is concentrated in the few key fields listed above. DOD provides a tenth of federal support for academic R&D, but more than half of all federal support for mechanical engineering and electrical engineering at universities, and nearly half of all federal support for computer sciences and materials engineering.
The House Defense bill contains a separate $256 million appropriation
($337 million in the Senate), outside the regular R&D accounts,
for medical R&D (see Table A)
plus another $72 million for medical care-related information technology
development for a total of $328 million. This appropriation for peer-reviewed,
competitively awarded research grants continues the recent expansion
of DOD's effort in medical research. The House would divide the $256
million medical R&D total into $175 million for breast cancer research
(up from $172 million in FY 2000) and $75 million for prostate cancer
research (up from $74 million), plus $6 million for peer reviewed medical
research on other topics. The Senate would provide the same amount for
breast cancer but $100 million for prostate cancer, $12 million for
ovarian cancer, and $50 million for research on other medical topics.
The House bill also contains numerous congressionally designated appropriations
for medical research in DOD's regular accounts, mostly in the Army and
Navy, including R&D on HIV, alcoholism, neuroscience, bone marrow
disease, Gulf War illness, and funding for medical laboratory facilities
around the nation. Counting these appropriations, the House bill would
provide a total of $639 million for congressionally designated medical
The "6.1," "6.2," and "6.3"
categories are often grouped together as "Science and Technology"
(S&T). This category encompasses basic research, applied research,
and advanced technology development, which contribute to a broad knowledge
base with potential applications to a wide variety of military as well
as civilian uses. S&T is separate from the "6.4" and higher
categories, which are focused on the development and testing of specific
weapons systems. DOD S&T declined steeply in the 1990s, but in FY
2000 DOD S&T, including the medical research appropriations
formerly appropriated within the "6.3" category, exceeded
$8 billion for the first time since FY 1994 thanks to strong congressional
support for an appropriation of $8.7 billion. Many science and technology
organizations and defense observers called on DOD to maintain S&T
funding at a minimum of $8 billion in 2000 dollars, but the Pentagon
requested only $7.6 billion for S&T in FY 2001. Both the House
and the Senate would add more than $1.2 billion to the request to bring
S&T to $8.8 billion, [up 1.8 percent] from FY 2000.
Among the Defense Agencies, the House bill would provide increases for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The $1.9 billion DARPA appropriation would be 1.7 percent above FY 2000 funding, compared to a 12.9 percent increase in the Senate because of a $200 million Senate-only boost to DARPA's efforts in developing remotely controlled combat systems. Most DARPA programs that are high priorities for the Administration would receive increases, although not as large as requested. Extensible Information Systems, a key program in the Administration's Information Technology initiative on fundamental IT research, would see its funding rise from $30 million to $49 million, though this would fall short of the request for $69 million. Computing Systems and Communications Technology, another IT initiative component, would fall short of the $377 million request but would still rise from $321 million in FY 2000 to $336 million in the House bill. The House would add to the request for Biological Warfare Defense, a program that funds R&D aimed at countering bioterrorism threats, and bring FY 2001 funding to $167 million, up from $132 million.
The Ballistic Missile Defense Organization's (BMDO) budget would also increase substantially, by 19.9 percent to $4.1 billion. The BMDO appropriation funds continued development and testing of national and theater missile defense systems, including $1.7 billion for development of a national missile defense. The President is still scheduled to make a decision this month on whether to commit to deploying a national defense system, although many observers have urged him to delay the decision until more technology tests have been completed.
[The House approved the Defense bill on June 7, and
the Senate version is scheduled for floor action shortly. Because of
the generous funding increases and the absence of controversial legislative
provisions, the Senate bill is expected to win easy approval, but there
may be delays in bringing the bill to the floor because of controversies
over the other appropriations bills.]
- June 2, 2000 (revised June 8)
AAAS R&D Budget and Policy Program
American Association for the Advancement of Science
1200 New York Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20005