Reggie Brothers, chief technology officer at Peraton and former undersecretary for science & technology at the Department of Homeland Security, discusses the funding trend for R&D, and why the Pentagon needs more than it will likely receive.
The Defense Department’s topline budget is likely to be above $700 billion in this year’s request to Congress. However, what comes below that is still unknown. One item that will certainly see an increase in funding is research and development, however it might not be as much as the department needs. Reggie Brothers, chief technology officer at Peraton and former undersecretary for science & technology at the Department of Homeland Security, says that the pace of technology means more funding is needed to stay competitive. “Since World War II, the whole issue has been that technology has given this advantage. But the way we’ve got there is to do the kind of research and development we’ve done historically. The challenge now is how fast technology is changing. As such, we have to keep up with the pace of technology. Not only that, we have to keep up with how we defend this technology,” Brothers said. “I spoke to someone at the Pentagon who’s a friend of mine. She said ‘A number of years ago, you could take 10 years or so to develop a counter-technology. Now it is almost immediately.’ It’s not just to develop our own capabilities, we have to understand how to counter these technologies when you don’t have the same historical numbers you’ve had in the past. That becomes problematic.