Next year’s Defense Department request for research and engineering funds will likely top this year’s record $112 billion appropriation, thanks to lawmakers who say they’re on board with Pentagon tech priorities, the defense undersecretary for research and engineering said Thursday.
“In December, 15 members of Congress came over to the Pentagon and I was able to give them a briefing on what [Research and Engineering] is doing. And they were thrilled,” Heidi Shyu said during a Defense Writers’ Group event. At one point, she said, lawmakers simply asked, “How much money do you need?…There’s a lot of enthusiasm for the stuff I’m doing.”
Congress displayed that enthusiasm in recent months by adding $24 billion to the Pentagon’s request in the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act.
In October, Shyu told Defense One that she had expected to trim the Pentagon’s 2018 list of tech priorities, but instead added to them. For 2023, she said, she has her eye on 32 key experiments in a variety of areas. Those projects fall “in the classified [realm] all the way to secret to top secret to special access. So, by and large, I can’t talk about it too much,” she said.
Shyu said progress would be demonstrated next month in an area of particular emphasis: joint all-domain command and control, or JADC2, the linking together of weapons, vehicles, satellites and troops across the services and across the domains of air, land, sea, space and cyberspace.
“In February, there’s going to be a demonstration in which we literally stitch together Army, Navy and Air Forces. So I’m pretty thrilled,” she said. She didn’t specify where it would take place or any other details.
Shyu, who has criticized the Pentagon’s hypersonics efforts, said she will continue to push for costs to come down, particularly for the Army’s Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon. But she said that the Defense Department is already building an asymmetric way to counter China’s and Russia’s relatively advanced hypersonic weapons. She said funding for that will be part of the coming budget request She declined to go into further details, again citing classification.
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