We are encouraged that the 2012 fiscal year Defense Department budget request for procurement and research and development reflects a slight increase from last year’s request. At 34 percent of the total budget, it comes close to reaching the 35 percent marker that we think is needed to ensure a healthy industrial base for the aerospace and defense industry.
However, with the personnel and operations accounts increasing at four times the rate of growth of the investment accounts, we are concerned about the long-term robustness of procurement and research. This year, for the first time since the beginning of flight, there is no new manned civil or military aircraft program in design and there is a huge requirement to reset and replace equipment used in Iraq and Afghanistan.
It is critical that this portion of the defense budget continue an upward trend. We know that this is a challenge given the need to reduce the nation’s deficit. But, at the same time this is the portion of DOD’s budget that develops and deploys the technology that protects our future generations and our men and women in uniform in conflicts across the globe.