ACS joins CNSR on letter to Secretary of Defense on FY24 Budget

October 6, 2022

The Honorable Lloyd J. Austin III
Secretary
U.S. Department of Defense
1400 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301

Dear Mr. Secretary,

As you develop the fiscal year (FY) 2024 U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) budget request, the Coalition for National Security Research (CNSR), representing the undersigned members of industry, academia, scientific and professional organizations, and non-profits, urges you to reverse recent trends of requesting cuts for the defense science and technology (S&T) program including the defense basic research programs. We respectfully request you seek to fund the defense S&T program equal to 3% of the overall DoD budget and ensure defense basic research is funded at 20% of the defense S&T budget, per expert recommendations from public and private sector organizations as outlined in this letter.

Deterring aggression and strategic attacks, and building enduring advantages for the Joint Force are the foundation of the National Defense Strategy (NDS).1 Ensuring the United States has military technological superiority over competitors is essential to supporting the NDS deterrence goals. As noted by the Defense Science Board (DSB), adequate investment in defense S&T is vital to military dominance and lower funding levels could put the military at a national security disadvantage.2 In addition, defense basic research often attracts the most innovative scientists and engineers to work on issues of critical importance to DoD while also training the next generation DoD workforce through supporting research and educational opportunities for students, which is another key priority of the NDS as it relates to DoD investing in its most valuable resource – its extraordinary people.3

The DSB,4 National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI),5 National Academies,6 Center for New American Security (CNAS),7 bipartisan House Armed Services Committee’s Future of Defense Task Force report,8 and Council on Competitiveness9 all recommend that the defense S&T program funding equal 3% of the DoD budget in order to ensure United States military technological dominance. Further, the DSB,10 National Academies11 and Council on Competitiveness12 recommend defense basic research comprise 20% of the defense S&T budget to support the high-payoff research needed to yield transformational capabilities for the military. Unfortunately, DoD’s budget requests have not met these recommendations. The FY 2023 budget request sought defense S&T funding of just 2.1% and basic research funding of 14.4%. DoD has essentially requested lower percentages for defense S&T and basic research in each budget request since FY 2017.

Finally, we would like to highlight two recent reports from the National Academies related to strengthening the STEM workforce by investing in Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) among others. The Academies concludes that MSIs have huge potential to grow the STEM workforce and United States’ research capacity.13 However, increased federal investment is required, particularly in defense S&T,14 to enable MSIs to adequately support their students and acquire infrastructure needed to conduct world-class scientific research in areas of importance to DoD. We hope you will keep this in mind, as well as the other recommendations mentioned in this letter, as you craft the FY 2024 DoD budget request.

Thank you for consideration of our views. If we can be of any assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Sincerely,

Aerospace Industries Association (AIA)
American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
American Chemical Society (ACS)
American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering
American Mathematical Society (AMS)
American Political Science Association
American Psychological Association (APA)
American Society for Engineering Education
Arizona State University
ASME
Association of American Universities (AAU)
Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU)
Battelle
Boston University
Brown University
California Institute of Technology
Carnegie Mellon University
Coalition for Academic Scientific Computation (CASC)
Columbia University
Computing Research Association
Consortium for Ocean Leadership
Consortium of Social Science Associations (COSSA)
Cornell University
Duke University
Dupont
Energetics, Inc.
Federation of Associations in Behavioral & Brain Sciences
(FABBS)
Federation of Materials Societies
Florida International University
Florida State University
George Mason University
Georgia Institute of Technology
Harvard University
IEEE-USA
Indiana University
Lehigh University
Louisiana State University
Louisiana Tech University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Materials Research Society
Miami University of Ohio
Michigan State University
Michigan Technological University
Montana State University
National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA)
Emerging Technologies Institute (ETI)
New Mexico State University
New York University
Northeastern University
Northern Illinois University
Northwestern University
Oak Ridge Associated Universities
Ohio State University
Old Dominion University
Oregon Health and Sciences University
Oregon State University
OSA-The Optical Society
Pace University
Penn State University
Princeton University
Purdue University

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Rochester Institute of Technology
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Semiconductor Industry Association
Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics
SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics
SRI International
Stony Brook University
Syracuse University
Temple University
Texas A&M University
The Catholic University of America
The George Washington University
The Johns Hopkins University
The State University of New York
University of Alaska
University of Arizona
University of California System
University of California, Davis
University of California, Irvine
University of California, Los Angeles
University of California, Riverside
University of California, San Diego
University of Central Florida
University of Chicago
University of Cincinnati
University of Colorado Boulder
University of Delaware
University of Florida
University of Hawaii System
University of Houston
University of Illinois System
University of Iowa
University of Kansas
University of Maryland at College Park
University of Michigan
University of Missouri System
University of Nebraska
University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
University of North Carolina System
University of Oklahoma
University of Pennsylvania
University of Pittsburgh
University of Rhode Island
University of Rochester
University of South Florida
University of Southern California
University of Tennessee
University of Texas at San Antonio
University of Texas System
University of Vermont
University of Virginia
University of Washington
University of Wisconsin - Madison
Vanderbilt University
Virginia Commonwealth University
Washington State University
West Virginia University
William & Mary
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Yale University