Advocating for Fiscal Year 2011 Psychological Research at DoD
Driven by its mission focus, the Department of Defense (DoD) supports an $80 billion research and development (R&D) enterprise, most of which funds weapons development programs. Within the overall R&D account, DoD’s basic and applied research portfolio (the Science and Technology or S&T line) includes support for behavioral, cognitive and social science. The majority of this research is funded through intramural and extramural programs within the Army Research Institute (ARI) and Army Research Laboratory (ARL); the Office of Naval Research (ONR); the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). These military service laboratories conduct and sponsor basic (6.1), applied/exploratory development (6.2), and advanced development (6.3) research in the human systems area. All of the services fund research in the broad categories of personnel, training and leader development; warfighter protection, sustainment and physical performance; and system interfaces and cognitive processing. In addition, there are additional human systems research programs funded through the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and a variety of other smaller DoD entities.
The President’s FY10 budget request would slash funding for DoD’s S&T account from an enacted FY09 level of $13.6 billion to $11.6 billion (a decrease of almost 15%). With the exception of a less-than-one-percent increase in Air Force basic (6.1) research and a more robust 13% increase in basic research in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, all military labs would see cuts to their 6.1, 6.2 and 6.3 accounts, with some cuts as high as 50%. In contrast, DARPA would fare well with a 3.8% increase over FY09 funding for a total of $3.2 billion in the Administration’s FY10 budget. Within these overall S&T accounts it is unclear at this point how human-centered, behavioral research programs specifically would fare in each of the military laboratories and defense-wide agencies under the President’s request. Wide-spread cuts could mean likely decreases for behavioral research programs, but recent Capitol Hill testimony by both Army and Navy laboratory heads suggests a renewed appreciation for the importance of behavioral research within the military mission.