Pentagon Cuts Research Budget by $500 Million


The Defense Department’s proposed budget for fiscal 2015 would cut $500 million from science and technology accounts, the so-called seed corn of military superiority.

The Pentagon’s spending plan unveiled on March 4 requests $11.5 billion for the S&T program, a $500 million, or 4.2 percent, decline from this year.

“Although the FY 2015 request is slightly lower than the FY 2014 enacted amount of $12.0 billion, the Department’s S&T program remains strong and continues the focus on Anti-access/Area-denial, and the rebalance to the Asia Pacific region,” the budget overview states.

The funding level reflects just 2 percent of the Pentagon’s overall base, or non-war, budget of $496 billion. Broken down by program, the S&T request includes $5 billion for advanced technology development, $4.5 billion for applied research and $2 billion for basic research, according to the document.

Several specific missions were identified for funding, such as “project power despite anti-access/area-denial challenges,” at $2 billion; “counter weapons of mass destruction,” $1 billion; “operate effectively in cyberspace and space,” $900 million, “electronic warfare,” $500 million and “high-speed kinetic strike” vehicles, $300 million.

Broken down by institution, the research budget would include almost $3 billion for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, about $2 billion apiece for the Army, Navy and Air Force, another $2 billion for basic research and additional funding for the National Advanced Manufacturing Initiative.

The DARPA funding is “to develop technologies for revolutionary, high-payoff military capabilities,” the document states. The agency’s work into computers and networks famously helped lead to hypertext and the Internet.

Frank Kendall, the Pentagon’s top weapons buyer, has warned lawmakers that American military technological superiority isn’t assured amid an era of automatic federal spending reductions known as sequestration.

“This is not a future problem,” he said. “It’s a here-and-now problem.”

About the Author

Brendan McGarry
Brendan McGarry is the managing editor of He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @Brendan_McGarry.
  • Bernard

    They could have just canceled the F35 and kept their “seed corn.”

    • Nadnerbus

      And their A-10s, and their U2s, and their carrier battle group, and just about everything else.

    • Lance

      Overall you right we don’t need the failed JSF but like I said this whole budget is full of military politics and cheating the NG for fulfill there pea brained wish list.

    • SuperGuest

      The F-35 won’t be cancelled, it’s just not going to happen. That ship sailed a long time ago, it might have even a serious possibility in 2010 or 2011 but not now. Over a hundred have been built, training has started, IOC is next year, and export orders are coming in. For better or worse, it’s going to happen, so can we stop beating that dead horse?

  • Can’t believe the cuts will survive congress’s final budget. If for no other reason than the research being done is spread over a large number of congressional districts.

  • citanon

    With the situation in Russia this budget proposal will probably see some change on Capitol Hill.

  • Dfens

    Well, let’s see, what great things has military R&D spending given us over the last few decades? Hmm, the only game changer I see is stealth, and that R&D all started at the Lockheed Skunk Works. Then there are UAV’s — thanks General Atomics, and the .50 cal sniper rifle — thanks Barrett. Military R&D is more about the research for the sake of endless funding programs like rail guns, otherwise known as “corporate welfare”. The real shame is that the military doesn’t use their R&D funds to do basic research in their own labs anymore. That’s where we used to get things like the X-1 through the X-15 series of supersonic research vehicles. You know, stuff that actually mattered.

    • blight_

      This just in, the NIH and NCI stop funding extramural grants to universities. It is now replaced with RFP’s to “Cure Cancer” that Merck, Pfizer and Schering-Plough bid for. They will be paid cost-plus for pharma product on delivery and per-pill delivered.

      To compensate for the high costs of R&D the number of pills produced will drop, until only twenty cancer-curing pills are produced, at a cost of 90 million apiece.

    • Deuterium2H

      Dfens: “Well, let’s see, what great things has military R&D spending given us over the last few decades? Hmm, the only game changer I see is stealth…”

      Challenge Accepted!
      Okay, let’s see, just looking back through the past few decades…

      — AESA radar
      — Unmanned ISR and strike drones, including upcoming broadband stealth UCLASS systems
      — Precision attack munitions using multi-mode seekers (GPS, IR, etc.)
      — Kinetic hit-to-kill ABM interceptors
      — Advances in LO, reactor, and propulsion technology for nuclear submarines.
      — Mk 41 VLS launch system for AEGIS destroyers and cruisers, suitable hot launch of an array of USN missiles including for SM -1,-2, -3, and -6 Standard, Sea Sparrow and Tomahawk families of missiles. Advanced Mk 57 VLS system for DDG-1000 Zumwalt class
      — Advanced Solid-state, Fiber and Free-electron Lasers for Anti-Air, Anti-Ship and Anti-Missile capabilities, soon to be fielded and operational
      — Electromagnetic Rail Gun technology
      — Advanced mobile and portable detectors for identifying and discriminating Nuclear, Biological and Chemical warfare agents.
      — Advanced mobile and portable detectors for conventional chemical explosives
      — Successful proof-of-concept, development and test of a SCRAMJET hypersonic vehicle.
      — SBIRS Space tracking and surveillance system


    • tiger

      How many new toys do we need to kill people?

      • Dfens

        If these “research projects” ever got that far it would be a helluva big step forward from what happens now. Now they are nothing but welfare for the rich. They funnel money to defense contractors who drag these projects out for as long as humanly possible just to skim their 10% off the top. Hell, we’d be better off to dump the money in a toilet than we are to give it to a defense contractor. At least if it were dumped into a toilet, it none of it could be used to pay a Washington DC lobbyist.

  • EW3

    R&D money only advances our technological advantage.
    Much better to buy votes with ObamaPhones.

  • ibsteve2u

    “high-speed kinetic strike” vehicles, $300 million…would that it were more. Need to ramp up anti-missile capabilities…they’re entirely too cheap to build especially if you’ve been given the requisite technology and its means of mass and rapid manufacture and further can manipulate your currency exchange rates at will.

    • afret1991

      That would buy a lot of high speed ammunition, would it not?

  • 009

    And Putin will begin to march his military beginning in Europe!

  • hibeam

    We have reset buttons now. Do we really even need a Pentagon research budget? Wouldn’t that just antagonize all our bestest new friends who love us and respect us now?

    • Dfens

      Not at the rate we do “research”. Hell, the only thing that takes longer than developing a fighter jet is “research”. Those programs can go on for half a century and still be half a century away from a “viable product”.

  • Fordownr

    Cutting the R&D budget is cutting the future. There are MANY lifesaving innovations that have been and continue to be developed by the military research centers, Among them TARDEC.

  • Lance

    I see too much politics in this budget bill. Its underhanded and corrupt like Army kills AAS so now the Gen. Ordenaro buffoon machine will get ride of all NG Apaches to replace a scout the Apache is not a scout and drones are a poor replacement. This is all politics this is bullcrap. Hope congress tears Haggle’s ideas up!!!

  • bobbymike

    So FY2015 base defense budget of $495 billion out of a $3.9 Trillion federal budget – 12.7% – the lowest percentage since before WWII and 2.9% of GDP lowest since before 9/11.

    Are the ‘Military Industrial Complex’ runs the world or the “Defense Dept. is causing deficits” arguments DEAD YET!!

    Decline is a choice.

  • The Highlander

    I am very sorry to see that DOD is cutting back on R&D to the extent that we will no longer be the strongest, hardest and smartest military in the world. We have prevented many things from coming about by being the meanest SOB in the valley. Now, with a President that has a yellow streak up his back that is as wide as his wife’s backside and is pushing his 3rd World Country BS, we have to live by what this guy wants and says he will have (or not have). We have been the best and need to continue to be the best military in the world. Now is not the time to cut back as far as it sounds like we will. It is easier to stay out front than to lay back and play “Obama”.

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  • afret1991

    Not to worry, we have the amazing do everything, all encompassing, wonder weapon that will save our nation in time of peril. The weapon of the century, the greatest thing since the use of brass ammo. The all purpose Schmoo, the F35, savior of America.

  • Mike

    500 million is a drop in the bucket. These cuts are nothing more than a smoke screen. With a Defense Budget of $612,500,000,000.00 only drops it to a budget of 612,000,000,000.00. This doesn’t include Black Budget money and there is no tell how much is spent that we are never told about nor does Congress know the real number.

  • Interesting Read

  • Joe finn

    They used money to train 5 Islamist Fighters..
    The $100million U.S. trained Terrorist
    What could my neighbors have done with that money?