Printer Friendly

Terror war calls for higher R&D spending.

The war on terrorism--with its emphasis on laser-guided munitions, unmanned vehicles and satellite communications--highlights a need for in-creased funds for research and development of new defense-related technologies, according to Pentagon officials.

The Bush administration has requested $53.9 billion for Defense Department research, development, test and evaluation programs in fiscal year 2003, said Robert W. Baker, deputy director of the department's science and technology programs. That is a $5.5 billion increase over 2002--a nearly 10 percent jump--he told the 2002 Science & Engineering Technology Conference, in Charleston, S.C., organized by the National Defense Industrial Association.

The RDT&E request is part of a total proposed defense budget of $379 billion in 2003. That is an increase of $48 billion, or 12 percent over 2002, officials said.

The plus-up for RDT&E is intended to support the priorities established by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Navy Rear Adm. Stanley R. Szemborski, deputy director for force structure, resources and assessment (J-8) for the Joint Staff. The surprise attacks of September 11 forced the chiefs to reshape those priorities, he told the conferees. The new list, he said, includes winning the global war on terrorism, improving the joint warfighting capabilities of the armed forces and transforming those forces, so that they are ready to face future challenges.

The anti-terror campaign is "a new kind of war,'" with diplomatic, financial, intelligence and law enforcement aspects, Szemborski said. "Even the Internal Revenue Service is involved," he said. "Thankfully, they're on our side."

The involvement of all of these players "requires a greater level of interagency coordination than ever before," Szemborski noted. The United States is working to improve military and interagency collaboration, but he confessed: "We have a problem with interoperability. There's not enough money in the world to make everything interoperable, but we don't have to do that."

"We must foster a climate of innovation and change," he said. "We need to build a process and organization capable of rapidly infusing currently unknown changes into the entire force as effortlessly as possible," he added.

With this in mind, he said, the department is establishing "standing joint-force headquarters within the offices of each of the five unified commanders in chiefs, or CINCs. The U.S. Joint Forces Command, in Norfolk, Va., stood up the first of these SJFHQs in February. These new units-to be made up of 55 planners, operations experts and communications specialists--are supposed to do the advance planning and training necessary to form larger joint task forces to handle rapidly developing crises.

The SJFHQs are meant to develop relationships with academic, industrial and government centers of excellence, collaborating with them during crises and pulling their specialized knowledge into the CING's planning process, Szemborski said.

Promising Concepts

The department's research and development program is designed to develop new technologies that will give the services "revolutionary war-winning capabilities," said Baker. Recent examples, he said, included stealth, night vision, global positioning systems, adaptive optics and lasers, and phased array radar.

Of the $53.9 billion proposed for defense RDT&E in 2003, $9.9 billion--or 19 percent of the total--would go to the Pentagon's science and technology programs, which conduct basic and applied research into promising concepts.

S&T funding reached about the same level in the early 1990s, Walter E. Morrow Jr., director emeritus of MIT Lincoln Laboratory, told a congressional hearing. "By 1998, the proposed funding had decreased to $7.4 billion," he said.

A study by the Defense Science Board found that typical high-technology companies devoted about 3.3 percent of their revenue to research, Morrow said. If U.S. military forces are to maintain their current technical advantage, a minimum of 3 percent of the Pentagon budget should go to S&T, Morrow said.

The Bush administration has set a goal for doing just that. Thus far, Pentagon officials conceded, they haven't been able to meet that goal. But they are getting closer, Defense Undersecretary and Controller Dov Zakheim told the Senate Armed Services Committee. The administration's S&T request, $9.9 billion, is about 2.68 percent of the total of $379 billion proposed for defense in 2003.

That is a slightly higher percentage than the administration sought last year, Zakheim said. "A year ago, we were at 2.65 percent," he explained. "So we are headed towards the 3 percent goal. We are maintaining that goal, even though the baseline is larger."

Some scientists are hoping that Congress will increase the S&T budget beyond the administration's request, as it has in the past. Last year, for example, the administration "asked for $9 billion, and we got $10 billion," Baker told the conference.

If defense S&T received only the amount recommended by the administration, that would represent "zero percent growth" over last years congressional appropriation, Baker said. At least, that would mean stability for S&T funding, he said.

"It's very important to maintain stability in S&T funding," Baker said. When funding increases, he explained, the laboratories hire new people and add facilities. "If you don't keep funding at that level, all of that effort is wasted," he said. "So far, this administration has said we are going to grow S&T, because we need the technology."

The department's Basic Research Plan guides work in 10 broad areas, Baker explained. These include physics, chemistry, mathematics and computer science, electronics, materials science, mechanics, terrestrial and ocean sciences, atmospheric and space sciences, biological sciences, and cognitive and neural sciences.

The research is arrayed in a detailed Defense Technology Area Plan that focuses on 12 "militarily significant" categories, Baker said. These are air platforms, chemical and biological defense, nuclear technology, information systems, materials and processes, weapons, biomedical systems, battlespace environments, sensors, electronic warfare, space platforms, human systems, and ground and sea vehicles.

The DTAP tracks research for each of these areas throughout all of the services and defense agencies, blending emerging technologies into a Joint Warfighting S&T Plan to meet combat needs, Baker said. As an example, for Military Operations in Urban Terrain, he said, this plan helped develop:

* Enhanced situational awareness for individuals and leaders.

* An improved squad radio.

* A combat identification system that works inside buildings.

* Increased weapons capability.

* Improved night and thermal optics.

* Through-wall scanning capability.

* Physical-protection kit for eyes, hearing, joints and so on.

Some projects take longer than others, officials said. For example, Baker said, the department has been trying for years to reduce the cost of space operations--with little success. "It still costs as much to put a pound of material into space as it did back in the Challenger era," he said. "We haven't made a lot of progress in that area."

Rapid Fielding

Other projects are fielded much more rapidly, said Ronald M. Sega, director of Defense Research and Engineering. As an example, Sega--a retired Air Force major general and shuttle astronaut--cited the thermobaric weapons first introduced during the war in Afghanistan. These laser-guided bombs are designed to suck the air from the kinds of deep caves and tunnels favored by al Qaeda and Taliban troops.

"The thermobaric weapons ACTD (Advanced Concept Technology Development) program was approved on September 21," Sega said. "The weapon was flight tested on December 14. It went from chemistry to weapon in three months." It was put to use immediately against enemy complexes in Tora Bora.

It's important for the Pentagon research program to have "a balance between projects that can be fielded immediately and those that will take a long time to develop," Sega said.

In deciding whether a program can be speeded up, Sega said, "we have to ask does it work? Does it work in an operational context? We may find out that a program works just fine, but it doesn't have that much military utility."

The September 11 attacks have increased pressure on the Army to speed up its transformation, said Jerry Chapin, deputy director of that service's Objective Force Task Force, which is guiding Army efforts to become lighter and more mobile. "We're still going to do pretty much what we planned to do, but we're going to have to do it quicker," he told the conferees.

A lot of people say that the Army's transformation plan "is too much to do," said Michael Andrews II, deputy assistant secretary of the Army for research and technology "The point is: We must. We cannot fail."

The Navy, meanwhile, is "not quite as far along as the Army on transformation," conceded Capt. David M. Schubert, assistant chief of naval research. One of the reasons, he said, is a "technology valley of death" that the Navy is trying to bridge. There is a time gap between the expiration of S&T funding provided by the Office of Naval Research and the availability of money for R&D during the acquisition process, Schubert said.

"When the Navy doesn't have the money to buy a technology, it goes on a shelf, and it starts to gather dust," he said. To get around this problem, he said, "we're going to fund longer and ask the acquisition people to buy earlier."

To kick start Navy transformation, Schubert said, the chief of naval research is focusing on a handful of initiatives, including electric warships and directed energy weapons, high-speed littoral vessels, a revolution in training, a hypersonic strike weapon, unmanned combat air vehicles, Navy utilization of space and force protection.

The Air Force is emphasizing a balanced program, according to Donald C. Daniel, deputy assistant Air Force secretary for science, technology and engineering. "I'm very keen on maintaining a portfolio balance-15 percent basic research, 50 percent applied research and 35 percent advanced technology development," he explained.

Air Force S&T efforts involve 22 program elements, with thousands of individual projects, said Daniel. The work is conducted by "highly leveraged formal and informal partnerships and alliances," he explained. "Much of it is long-term in nature, with no guarantee of success."

The Air Force's most immediate S&T objectives, Daniel said, are improved target location, identification and tracking; command, control, communications, computers and intelligence; precision attack; access to space; aircraft survivability; sustaining aging systems, and support for the new air expeditionary forces.

The service also plans to step up its work with NASA and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Daniel noted. "We want to do more with NASA than we're doing right now," he said. "And, DARPA, we love you. We'll love you more, if you'll love us more."

For its part, DARPA is looking for projects that will encourage "radical technological innovation," said the agency's deputy director, Jane A. Alexander. "What we want to know is does this change the equation?"

DARPA's mission, she explained, is to find technical solutions to national-level problems.

For example, DARPA recently created two new offices. One unit is seeking to improve the informational awareness of U.S. combat forces. It is looking into ways to pull all available informational sources into models to discover the intent of opponents, Alexander said. "Given this data, what is likely to happen? What are the options?"

The other office is focused on information exploitation. "It is concentrating on improving "the kill chain," Alexander said. It is trying to create a "persistent flow of actionable information from the sensor to the shooter," she said. "It's not enough to have battlefield awareness, if you can't kill the target."

RELATED ARTICLE: Defense Agencies Display High-Tech Equipment

The deputy undersecretary of defense for science and technology is testing an intelligent, web centric distribution system for sensor information, which is designed to enhance situational awareness for war fighters at lower echelons. The Smart Sensor Web--on display at the 2002 Science & Engineering Conference--is being tested at the McKenna Military Operations in Urban Terrain site at Fort Benning, Ga.

The McKenna site has both the urban infrastructure and the operational sensor tracking system to observe the effects of enhanced situational awareness on the warfighter, according to David Greinke, a senior defense analyst at Strategic Analysis Inc., which provides program support to the web. Other technologies exhibited at the conference included:

* The Low Cost Autonomous Attack System, or LOCAAS. This 85-pound munition--developed by Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, of Dallas--can be dropped from a conventional fighter or bomber or fired from missile. It can fly under its own power for 30 minutes, guided by a global positioning system, and hit a precise target miles away. Its warhead, designed by the Air Force Research Laboratory, can be detonated as a long-rod penetrator, an aerostable slug or as fragments, depending on the hardness of the target.

"It's like having a miniature cruise missile, with a rifle and shotgun in the same weapon," said Michael E. Wallace, a laboratory scientist. The estimated production cost, he said, is $33,000 per unit.

* Cold-weather food for long-range patrols. The Defense Department's Combat Feeding Program--a part of the Army's Soldier Systems Center, in Natick, Mass.--has developed a food packet to meet the nutritional needs of special operations troops and Marines during long-range patrols and the initial phases of combat assaults in extremely cold weather.

Twelve menus provide dehydrated entrees, cereal bars, cookies and candy, with accessory packets and plastic spoons, said the center's Janice E. Rosado. Some of the food can be eaten right out of the container, dry if necessary, she said. Each menu contains an average of 1,540 calories. If used for three meals, the package will provide the 4,500 calories required for heavy exertion in extreme cold.

* High-performance computing. The Defense Department's High Performance Computing Modernization Office delivers high-speed and high-power computational capability to its facilities around the country, according to spokesperson Cathy MacDonald. The program, based in Arlington, Va., supports more than 4,000 scientists and engineers at more than 100 departmental laboratories, universities, test centers and industrial sites, she said. The program has contributed to the development of such projects as the Joint Strike Fighter, the Comanche helicopter and the Javelin missile, MacDonald said. --Harold Kennedy

Expect More 'Messy Little Wars,' Researcher Says

Defense research programs should be preparing U.S. military forces for a future that closely resembles the past decade, said Richard L. Kugler, senior research fellow for the Institute for National Strategic Studies, a component of the National Defense University, in Washington, D.C.

'We've fought three regional wars in the past 10 years," he told a recent defense science and technology conference. "That's what the future is going to look like--lots of messy little wars."

Kugler cited a recent INSS research study warning that the increasing trend toward globalization--cross-border flows in economics, information and other factors--can have both good and bad effects.

"Europe is unifying slowly, and Latin America is democratizing unevenly," he said. Those are good things, he said. "But globalization also causes dislocations and strains in regions that cannot compete effectively."

An "arc of strategic instability" stretches from the Balkans to the Philippines, Kugler said. In this region, weak governments, societies and economies--plagued by poverty and unstable security--"set the stage for chaos," he said.

"While we have been very successful at defending Europe and Japan, we have fared less well at operating in this arc," he said. For example, he said, "no serious defense planner would have predicted Afghanistan a year ago. In fact, we got surprised by all three regional wars of the past decade."

Luckily, he said, the United States was prepared. "Eventually, however, one of these wars is going to happen in a place where we aren't prepared," Kugler said.

In this environment the central requirement is for U.S. forces that are "flexible, adaptable and modular," he said. As it turns out, he said, "we have a lot of that not because we planned it that way, but because of the competitiveness of the services and their component units."
COPYRIGHT 2002 National Defense Industrial Association
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2002, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:President Bush wants to double the military budget for 2003
Author:Kennedy, Harold
Publication:National Defense
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2002
Previous Article:Pentagon budget hits some rough spots on Capitol Hill.
Next Article:Project Metropolis brings urban wars to U.S. cities.

Related Articles
Cold War - the sequel.
The myth of the two-front war: over-preparing for a two-front war that will almost certainly never occur is costing us billions.
Axis to grind. (Comment).
A martial plan? (Correction, Please!).
Pentagon budget hits some rough spots on Capitol Hill.
Problems with current U.S. policy.
The Costs Of Iraq War.
A Unified Security Budget for the United States.
Candidates imprecise on pentagon spending.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters