Yesterday, the House approved the FY 2014 Defense appropriations bill (H.R. 2397) on a 315-109 vote. As previously reported, the $513 billion bill comes in roughly $15 billion above the $498 billion cap for discetionary defense spending set forth by the Budget Control Act; the cap also includes defense activities within the Department of Energy, which is an additional $17 billion or above the cap but not included in the Defense bill. The bill advances the broader House strategy to shift spending from nondefense to defense activities.
In terms of R&D, the House bill would provide $69.3 billion for R&D at the Department of Defense (DOD), 0.4 below the request, 1.9 percent above FY 2013 post-sequester estimates, and 6.9 percent below FY 2012 (not accounting for inflation). Basic and applied research funding would rise to $6.8 billion, 0.9 percent above the request, with additional boosts for research at the Defense Health Program; downstream technology and weapons development activities would continue their sharp declines from recent years.
A handful of floor amendments would have a direct impact on DOD R&D activities. Most of these were incremental increases of $10 million or less for Defense Health Program research on prostate cancer, brain injury, and other areas, adding up to over $50 million. The Administration regularly targets the medical research program for significant cuts, and each year Congress restores them. This year's House bill is a renewal of that pattern, with medical research reaching $1.4 billion, $661 million above the request and near an all-time high. Additionally amendments were approved to stop DOD furloughs, and to provide $15 million for R&D on a domestic version of Israel's Iron Dome missile defense program.
In historical terms, the House bill would continue the recent decline in DOD R&D overall, though it would keep pace with inflation from current sequester levels and continue recent gains for Science & Technology budget, which includes basic and applied research, and the medical research program.
Tables: Congressional Action on DHS R&D
Dept. of Defense R&D
R&D By Military Department and Agency
DOD Basic Research
DOD Science & Technology Budget
Read more: Analysis of the President's Request for DOD R&D