Mark Lewis: Bigger budgets show priority for emerging defense technologies


June 3, 2021

ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA – The $112 billion request – one of the largest ever – for research, development, test and evaluation in the Defense Department fiscal year 2022 budget request is a positive step toward investing in critical emerging technologies, said Dr. Mark Lewis, executive director of the Emerging Technologies Institute of the National Defense Industrial Association, in a June 3 statement.
ETI applauds the increase, about 5% more than the FY 2021 enacted amount. Of particular note, the FY 2022 budget includes $3.8 billion to field hypersonic weapons on air, land and sea platforms. This expanded commitment to hypersonics is “absolutely critical to our national defense,” Lewis said.
“Put simply, every time we war-gamed future peer conflicts without a U.S. hypersonics capability, we lost,” Lewis said. “Given the incredible pace of development and deployment in Russia, and especially China, hypersonic systems are an area where we dare not continue to fall behind.”
Microelectronics, a critical component for weapons platforms, fared reasonably well in the budget request at $2.3 billion. Another highlight is a Defense Production Act request of $341 million to partner with U.S. companies to strengthen the defense industrial base and bring to the United States critical supply chains for microelectronics and rare earth metals.
However, the budget request also includes significant funding for end-of-life microelectronics purchases, meaning there is still more work to be done. Lewis said that ensuring the Defense Department has access to state-of-the-art, secure microelectronics must remain a priority.
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