The Obama Administration has requested $1 billion in Department of Defense (DoD) reappropriations to augment efforts to contain the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa.
As of late October, the House Appropriations, House Armed Services, and Senate Armed Services committees have approved $750 million dollars in DoD reappropriations, which will come from the overseas contingency operations (OCO) budget, though the Senate Appropriations Committee (SAC) has yet to approve this request. Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) announced the SAC will hold a hearing on Ebola reappropriations on November 6th, shortly after the midterm elections.
Department of Defense officials have been increasingly concerned with the deteriorating state of the US military’s technological superiority as a result of low cost disruptive technologies.
The proliferation of low cost, disruptive technologies coincides with a dramatic decrease in publicly funded defense Research Development Test and Evaluation (RDT&E) spending from the DoD: the FY 2014 budget allocated just $63 billion to RDT&E, compared to the nearly $80 billion allocated in FY 2009. Additionally, US private sector RDT&E defense spending has fallen dramatically in terms of percentage, as well, with the largest US Defense contractors reinvesting only 1-2% of sales back into R&D. In response, senior DoD leadership has developed new initiatives to foster innovation and maximize reduced budgets through new technological offset strategies, cost sharing between close US allies, and acquisition reforms.
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