6
Overarching Conclusions and Recommendations

Focusing on specific areas, Chapters 2 through 5 provide conclusions and recommendations relevant to those areas. This chapter offers conclusions and recommendations that reflect the common themes of the study as a whole.

Although the reductions in DoD (and Air Force) S&T funding since the end of the Cold War may have seemed reasonable at the time they were made, they did not take into account new threats that would have to be addressed through S&T. Many nations and groups have taken advantage of advanced off-the-shelf information systems, foreign military equipment sales, and the relative ease of developing or acquiring weapons of mass destruction and now present new threats worldwide. Current U.S. forces and systems were not designed specifically to meet these highly unpredictable, asymmetrical threats.

The Cold War impetus driving the development of some systems has diminished; however, continued S&T investment to support advanced systems is still necessary. The United States still relies on technological superiority to provide a military advantage to ensure military success with minimal casualties. In addition, many DoD and Air Force systems are decades old and are expected to last many more years until new systems are ready. All of the services recognize that S&T programs will be necessary to extend the lifetimes of these systems. Finally, new operational concepts, such as the Air Force’s Expeditionary Aerospace Force, will require S&T investment. The Air Force has challenged its S&T community to improve the operational parameters of the Expeditionary Aerospace Force by an order of magnitude. For all of these reasons, DoD still needs a strong, broad-based S&T program.

Post-Cold War reductions to DoD and Air Force S&T in air, space, and related information systems have been particularly harmful. S&T for air systems is necessary to support aging systems, systems currently in development, new operational concepts, and new systems, such as unmanned air vehicles, unmanned combat air vehicles, and guided weapons. Funding for Air Force S&T for air systems is less than half of what it was 10 years ago.

The new DoD space policy highlights the strategic significance of space as a vital defense arena and will certainly require expanded research in space technologies. However, DoD’s current investment in space S&T is only 3 percent of its overall S&T program, not nearly enough to support an aggressive space technology initiative. The Air Force has increased its emphasis on S&T for space systems; however, to pay for the increase within a fixed total for S&T, funding has had to be shifted from already-underfunded air systems S&T programs.

Battlespace information systems are pervasive throughout the services and DoD agencies. All of the services need information systems technology to support air and space operations. The Air Force’s Vision 2020 identifies information superiority as one of the Air Force’s core competencies and states that information superiority will be necessary to ensure decision dominance over adversaries. Although Air Force visions for air and space operations are becoming increasingly dependent on information systems, Air



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Review of the U.S. Department of Defence Air, Space, and Supporting Information Systems Science and Technology Program 6 Overarching Conclusions and Recommendations Focusing on specific areas, Chapters 2 through 5 provide conclusions and recommendations relevant to those areas. This chapter offers conclusions and recommendations that reflect the common themes of the study as a whole. Although the reductions in DoD (and Air Force) S&T funding since the end of the Cold War may have seemed reasonable at the time they were made, they did not take into account new threats that would have to be addressed through S&T. Many nations and groups have taken advantage of advanced off-the-shelf information systems, foreign military equipment sales, and the relative ease of developing or acquiring weapons of mass destruction and now present new threats worldwide. Current U.S. forces and systems were not designed specifically to meet these highly unpredictable, asymmetrical threats. The Cold War impetus driving the development of some systems has diminished; however, continued S&T investment to support advanced systems is still necessary. The United States still relies on technological superiority to provide a military advantage to ensure military success with minimal casualties. In addition, many DoD and Air Force systems are decades old and are expected to last many more years until new systems are ready. All of the services recognize that S&T programs will be necessary to extend the lifetimes of these systems. Finally, new operational concepts, such as the Air Force’s Expeditionary Aerospace Force, will require S&T investment. The Air Force has challenged its S&T community to improve the operational parameters of the Expeditionary Aerospace Force by an order of magnitude. For all of these reasons, DoD still needs a strong, broad-based S&T program. Post-Cold War reductions to DoD and Air Force S&T in air, space, and related information systems have been particularly harmful. S&T for air systems is necessary to support aging systems, systems currently in development, new operational concepts, and new systems, such as unmanned air vehicles, unmanned combat air vehicles, and guided weapons. Funding for Air Force S&T for air systems is less than half of what it was 10 years ago. The new DoD space policy highlights the strategic significance of space as a vital defense arena and will certainly require expanded research in space technologies. However, DoD’s current investment in space S&T is only 3 percent of its overall S&T program, not nearly enough to support an aggressive space technology initiative. The Air Force has increased its emphasis on S&T for space systems; however, to pay for the increase within a fixed total for S&T, funding has had to be shifted from already-underfunded air systems S&T programs. Battlespace information systems are pervasive throughout the services and DoD agencies. All of the services need information systems technology to support air and space operations. The Air Force’s Vision 2020 identifies information superiority as one of the Air Force’s core competencies and states that information superiority will be necessary to ensure decision dominance over adversaries. Although Air Force visions for air and space operations are becoming increasingly dependent on information systems, Air

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Review of the U.S. Department of Defence Air, Space, and Supporting Information Systems Science and Technology Program Force S&T budgets for information systems have continued to decline each year. In FY00, only 6 percent of the funding appropriated for Air Force S&T was budgeted for the AFRL’s directorate responsible for information systems S&T. AIR FORCE INVESTMENT IN S&T Conclusion 1. The committee believes that the reductions made by the Air Force to its S&T investment since the end of the Cold War did not take into account the changing nature of the global threat and the S&T challenges it presents. While the need for the Air Force S&T investment oriented to the Soviet threat was diminished at the end of the Cold War, the need for overall Air Force investment in S&T was not. The committee believes that the Air Force’s current (FY01) investments in air, space, and information systems S&T are too low to meet the challenges being presented by new and emerging threats. Recommendation 1. The Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of the Air Force should continue to increase the Air Force investment in science and technology (S&T) to reach one-and-a-half to two times its current (FY01) level. Investments in S&T for air, space, and information systems should all be increased. Increasing one by decreasing the others will not satisfy current S&T program shortcomings and may create new ones. In recommending that S&T investment levels be increased, the committee recognizes that DoD and the Air Force need to maintain the S&T base required to ensure technological superiority over potential adversaries with advanced systems. However, they should also reorient their S&T programs to discover and develop technologies to address evolving threats, support aging systems, and enable new operational concepts. This reorientation has already begun and should be continued. S&T programs will have to be broad-based, flexible, and stable to deal with the uncertainties presented by future threats. S&T REPRESENTATION AND ADVOCACY WITHIN THE AIR FORCE Conclusion 2. The committee strongly believes that the Air Force needs authoritative, S&T-focused and -dedicated representation and advocacy at the corporate policy and decision-making level of the Air Force to help make informed trade-offs and budget decisions. Without corporate-level understanding and consideration of the effects its S&T investment can have on the Air Force’s future, the committee believes that the Air Force faces undue risk that its S&T investment will not provide the technologies and systems needed to meet future threats. The committee is encouraged by the actions that the Air Force has recently taken to increase the level of S&T advocacy in the Air Force and believes these actions can result in a stronger S&T program. Additional actions could make Air Force S&T even stronger. Recommendation 2. In addition to the actions they have already taken, the Secretary and the Chief of Staff of the Air Force should continue to look for ways and take actions to further strengthen S&T representation and advocacy at the corporate policy and decision-making level of the Air Force. There are a number of options they can consider, including (1) formally designating the Air Force science and technology (S&T) program as a corporate program, (2) having the current AFRL commander/TEO position report directly to the Chief of Staff or be a member of the Air Force Council, and (3) establishing an Air Force Council member position (normally an assistant secretary or a 3-star deputy chief of staff) to be filled by a person in the Pentagon who is focused on, dedicated to, responsible for, and authorized to represent and advocate S&T within the Air Force, formulate Air Force S&T budgets, and participate in Air Force corporate policy and decision-making activities. The Air Force can also benefit from carefully examining the special roles accorded the Chief of Naval Research and the Office of Naval Research in the Department of the Navy to consider how these roles could be adapted to the AFRL commander/ TEO and AFRL to strengthen Air Force S&T. These options or others the Air Force identifies can address remaining weaknesses in Air Force S&T representation and advocacy and build upon the recent successes of the Air Force. S&T WORKFORCE Conclusion 3a. The reductions in the Air Force’s S&T workforce since the end of the Cold War and the rules governing the hiring, firing, and management of S&T workers have helped to undermine the quality and health of the Air Force’s S&T program. They threaten the S&T program’s ability to deliver the technologies,

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Review of the U.S. Department of Defence Air, Space, and Supporting Information Systems Science and Technology Program enable the strategies, and satisfy the visions of the future military. Conclusion 3b. Personnel management rules threaten the quality of the Air Force’s S&T program. Conclusion 3c. The talents of DoD’s technically educated officer corps are not being fully exploited, the benefits of locating uniformed personnel with their warfighter perspectives close to DoD S&T performers and S&T investment decision makers are being lost, and the number of officers throughout DoD who understand the importance of S&T to U.S. military superiority is decreasing. Recommendation 3a. The Secretary of Defense should request that Congress extend the three-year pilot program for revitalizing the service laboratories (under Section 246 of the 1999 National Defense Authorization Act [P.L. 105–261]) by at least three years to allow laboratory programs to implement changes and evaluate the results. The Secretary of Defense, service secretaries, and service chiefs of staff should seize the opportunity that Congress created with Section 246 to improve the quality and health of their science and technology (S&T) workforces as much as possible. The services should take maximum advantage of the flexibility offered by Section 246 to try innovative approaches to managing their S&T workforces. Recommendation 3b. The Secretary of Defense, service secretaries, and service chiefs of staff should work aggressively to improve the development and use of their military science and technology (S&T) workforce. Officers should be encouraged to carry out S&T assignments, which should be viewed positively during consideration for promotions. High-grade career advancement opportunities for S&T officers should be made visible. Recommendation 3c. The Secretary of Defense, service secretaries, and service chiefs of staff should implement the remedial actions proposed by previous reports. These include establishing personnel demonstration projects, increasing the presence of leading national (perhaps also international) non-Department of Defense (DoD) scientists and engineers in DoD laboratories through Intergovernmental Personnel Act assignments, and using alternative laboratory management and staffing approaches, such as government-owned, collaborator-assisted arrangements. Recommendation 3d. The Secretary of Defense, service secretaries, and service chiefs of staff should work with Congress and with other agencies to enact targeted modifications to Civil Service rules that directly affect the quality and health of the science and technology workforce.