. "6. Overarching Conclusions and Recommendations." Review of the U.S. Department of Defense Air, Space, and Supporting Information Systems Science and Technology Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2001.
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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.
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,