Investing in Science and Technology to Maintain Military Advantage

The Administration faces a dual challenge in executing its military strategy: preparing US troops to deal with a wider range of threats while both shrinking and reforming our forces to meet the defense demands of the twenty-first century. The Administration has launched a series of initiatives aimed at capturing and applying science and technology to address those challenges, with a focus on the following goals: supporting our military forces within the range of missions they will be assigned, lowering acquisition costs, and nurturing a healthy national science and technology infrastructure to foster innovation and, as a result, the vital industrial capacity to maximize it.

Our investment in defense research and technology allows us to counter military threats and negate any advantages that adversaries may seek. It also broadens policymakers’ military options, including alternatives to fighting in pursuing the goals of maintaining stability and preventing conflict. Science and technology assist in countering unique dangers such as terrorism that cannot be addressed by conventional warfighting troops, and they underlie the intelligence capabilities required to analyze the challenges our country faces. Science and technology are also used by the US military to make our advanced military equipment more cost-effective over their full life cycle.

Military capabilities of the United States not only protect the country and its population from direct attacks but also aid to maintain peace and stability in regions important to the country’s interests and underpin US defense obligations around the world. Forward stationing and periodic deployments also allow US forces to gain familiarity with abroad operating conditions, boost joint and combined training among friendly forces, increase interoperability with friendly forces all over the world, and respond to crises quickly.

Finally, in order to properly meet these criteria, US forces must be able to respond swiftly and operate effectively in a variety of circumstances. That is, they must be capable of fighting. Such a high level of combat preparedness necessitates highly qualified and motivated personnel, ample quantities of new, well-maintained equipment, realistic training, strategic mobility, and enough support and sustainment capabilities.