Advantage Through Science and
National defense is fundamental to the President's National Security Strategy of Engagement and Enlargement. In pursuing its military strategy, the Administration faces the dual challenge of readying U.S. forces to address a more diverse set of threats while at the same time downsizing and restructuring our forces to respond to the defense needs of the 21st century. The Administration has launched a series of initiatives designed to capture and apply science and technology to respond to these challenges, focusing on the following objectives: supporting our military forces in the range of missions they can be assigned, reducing acquisition costs, and nurturing a healthy national science and technology infrastructure to spawn innovation and the vital industrial capacity to capitalize on it.
Our defense science and technology investment enables us to counter military threats and to overcome any advantages that adversaries may seek. It also expands the military options available to policymakers, including options other than warfare in pursuing the objectives of promoting stability and preventing conflict. Science and technology help to counter special threats such as terrorism that cannot be met by conventional warfighting forces, and they underpin the intelligence capabilities necessary to assess the dangers our nation faces. The U.S. military also relies on science and technology to make our advanced military systems more affordable through their entire life cycle. And by maintaining a close dialogue with the warfighters, the defense S&T community not only remains sensitive to user needs but also sensitizes the user to the possibilities that technology offers for responding to evolving threats.
U.S. military capabilities not only protect the United States and its citizens from direct threats, they also help maintain peace and stability in regions critical to U.S. interests and underwrite U.S. defense commitments around the world. Maintaining a strong defense capability means that the U.S. Armed Forces, and the Department of Defense more broadly, must be prepared to conduct the following kinds of missions, as described in the President's national security strategy:
Providing credible overseas presence. Some U.S. forces must be forward deployed or stationed in key overseas regions in peacetime. These deployments contribute to a more stable and secure international environment by demonstrating U.S. commitment, deterring aggression, and underwriting important bilateral and multilateral security relationships. Forward stationing and periodic deployments also permit U.S. forces to gain familiarity with overseas operating environments, promote joint and combined training among friendly forces, improve interoperability with friendly forces throughout the world, and respond in a timely manner to crises.
Conducting contingency operations. The United States must be prepared to undertake a wide range of contingency operations in support of U.S. interests. These operations include smaller-scale combat operations, multilateral peace operations, noncombatant evacuations, counterterrorism activities, and humanitarian and disaster relief operations.
Countering weapons of mass destruction. While the United States is redoubling its efforts to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and associated missile delivery systems, we must at the same time improve our military capabilities to deter and prevent the effective use of these weapons. We are pursuing this objective by sustaining adequate retaliatory capabilities and by increasing our capabilities to defend against weapons of mass destruction, to locate and neutralize or destroy them before they are used during a conflict, and to fight in an environment in which such weapons have been used.
Finally, to meet all these requirements successfully, U.S. forces must be capable of responding quickly and operating effectively across a wide range of environments. That is, they must be ready to fight. Such high combat readiness demands well qualified and motivated people; adequate amounts of modern, well-maintained equipment; realistic training; strategic mobility; and sufficient support and sustainment capabilities.
The science and technology programs that support our military forces are conducted primarily by the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, and the Intelligence Community-with contributions from many other Federal agencies. The following strategy elements guide our overall science and technology investment:
Maintain technological superiority in warfighting equipment. Technological superiority underpins our national military strategy, allowing us to field the most potent military forces by making best use of our resources, both economic and human. It is essential for the United States to maintain superiority in those technologies of critical importance to our security.
Provide technical solutions to achieve the Future Joint Warfighting Capabilities. The Joint Chiefs of Staff have identified the warfighting capabilities most needed by our military in the future (see box p. 10, "Future Joint Warfighting Capabilities"). Our S&T investment must be aimed at securing these needed capabilities.
Balance basic research and applied technology in pursuing technological advances. Today's basic research lays the foundation for tomorrow's innovative development. To make possible the greatest range of options and avoid technological surprise, we must apply resources broadly at the basic research level and make further investment decisions as emerging technologies reveal the most promising payoff areas.
Incorporate affordability as a design parameter. The cost of advanced technology systems must not be allowed to spiral upward uncontrolled. Affordability must be integrated into the design of military systems from the beginning, and improvements must be incorporated throughout their life cycle with the integration of new technology.