Defense Technology Future Looks Bright, but Is Unclear
Science and technology are receiving broad support amid threatened defense budget cuts, but their future application may be hindered by outside forces. The complexity of technology must be weighed in planning both for capabilities and for budgetary priorities, according to a panel of experts at West 2012 in San Diego. Vice Adm. John Terrence Blake, USN, deputy chief of naval operations, integration of capabilities and resources (N-8), stated that science and technology are relatively protected against budget cuts, so reductions will have to come in areas such as operation and maintenance, personnel, infrastructure and procurement. Left unstated is the fact that cuts there might impact negatively on the effective incorporation of new technologies. Vice Adm. Gerald R. Beaman, USN, commander, U.S. Third Fleet, warned that innovation and technology are outpacing the military's ability to field that technology. He noted that forces forward are helping planners develop the tactics, techniques and procedures for future forces with their use of new technologies in the field. Adm. Blake expressed concerns about how budget cuts will affect the defense industrial base. "If we take a piece of it down, how long before it cannot ever be reconstituted?" he asked. That risk must be taken into account with defense budgeting, he said.