TABLE 3.1 ONR Funding for 6.1 and 6.2 Support of PTTI (million dollars)

Year

Atomic and Molecular Physics

Meteorology and Oceanography

Navigation Program

Total

6.1 funding

 

1990

2.5

 

2.5

2002

2.0

 

2.0

6.2 funding

 

1990

 

1.6

1995

 

1.6

 

1.6

1999

 

1.3

 

1.3

2001

 

1.0

0.7

1.7

2002

 

0.3

1.0

1.3

NOTE: These numbers are the approximate dollars spent from each program in PTTI; PTTI does not have its own program budget, and ONR was able to provide only estimates of the amount of these programs that was directed toward programs that could be characterized as PTTI.

Over the last 5 years, however, ONR funding to AMO physics investigations has not been stable. There has been a monotonic decrease in this support in then-year dollars, which becomes even greater when translated into constant dollars (see Table 3.1). This is telling, particularly because overall Navy 6.1 funding increased during those years, even in constant dollars.2 Should this decrease in support continue, the productivity of the program would continue to decline. Because fundamental research entails a long-term investment, the impact of this reduction would not be immediately apparent; over time, however, its effects will be felt in the slowed progress of PTTI-related science and, probably more important, in a smaller pool of scientifically trained personnel who can meet military needs in the field. Given the importance of PTTI to Navy and DOD warfighting capabilities and the unique role the Navy plays in PTTI for all of DOD, the committee believes it is shortsighted to reduce the Navy’s support of the basic research that has for so long led to advances in the field, improved PTTI performance, and supplied a cadre of technically knowledgeable individuals to satisfy the PTTI needs of Navy and DOD programs.

Only if the Navy 6.1 AMO physics research program maintains a close relationship with the research and development community can it support long-range research, foster the discovery of technologies, and nurture the next generations of researchers for the future Navy and Marine Corps. At present, ONR funds nearly 30 projects in AMO physics. The supported projects are well attuned to Navy mission goals, with many clearly relevant to the state of the art of PTTI. By their very nature, though, fundamental investigations proceed over many years. Training at the Ph.D. level often requires more than 5 years of graduate study, and particular projects may extend over multiple generations of graduate students before coming to full fruition. With this in mind, the committee believes that stable, multiyear funding of the research programs should be given the highest priority, including stability of the research funding overall and stability of funding to specific researchers. Ultimately, stable funding will ensure the greatest return on the Navy investment in basic research related to PTTI.

2  

Information btained from the American Institute of Physics Web site, <http://www.aip.org/enews/fyi/>.



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