ACS Calls for More DOD R&D To Maintain our Technological Edge

The American Chemical Society has 154,000 members, making it the world’s largest scientific society.  Many are international, but like the US arm of the largest engineering society, IEEE-USA, ACS provides a legislative agenda to represent its US members, and what it sees as the national interest, to the Federal Government.  Their policy statement on the FY2010 budget for the Department of Defense is quoted below, since I think it makes an excellent case for R&D investment to maintain our technological edge for national security, and reports on how DOD is not meeting that challenge.

We will soon see the final numbers for the DOD budget, and I doubt that it will be possible to meet the ACS goals within a budget that has to pay for two wars that have already lasted longer than any previous US wars. I don’t envy those who have to make allocations between the need to contain nasty, but limited, threats from Al Qaeda now, and likely much worse threats from emerging superpowers  later. The President’s speech last night touched on one aspect of this dilemma, not guns vs. butter, but guns now vs. investments in the economic strength to buy guns later.  The ACS says:

“The American Chemical Society (ACS) continues to call for increased investment in the Department of Defense (DOD) Science & Technology (S&T) portfolio. Specifically, we support a $400 million increase to peer-reviewed basic research for a total of $2.2 billion in FY 2010, an 18 percent increase over FY 2009.

Research sponsored by DOD is fundamental to protecting the lives of U.S. military men and women and maintaining our military’s technological edge. The basic research programs (6.1 account) underpin advances in applied research and advanced technology development, as well as progress in basic science and engineering research nationwide. Collectively, these programs advance scientific knowledge and enable new technologies and applications critical to the DOD mission, as well as being valuable in the civilian sector.

ACS supports the goal of reserving three percent of the DOD budget for S&T as called for by the Defense Sciences Board. This is consistent with funding levels necessary to replenish the pipeline for future war fighting advances and recommendations put forth by the National Academies’ report, Rising Above the Gathering Storm. Through declining budget requests, DOD has steadily shifted away from fundamental, long-term research. The president’s specific request for a decline in funding continues this trend and is now less than 60 percent of the goal for basic research set by the Defense Science Board.”

There’s more at the link below, but you get the idea. 

R. D. Shelton