by Michael Yamaner
This report provides summary revisions to FY 2000–07 research and development obligations for Air Force, Department of Defense, and federal government totals collected and published by the National Science Foundation (NSF) from its Survey of Federal Funds for Research and Development.
Beginning with the FY 2000–02 survey, the Department of the Air Force mistakenly began excluding funds for operational systems development from R&D totals it reported, because the agency misunderstood the reporting requirements. This omission persisted until the publication of the FY 2007–09 data tables, at which time NSF requested that the Air Force revise these data back to FY 2000 to include the missing development funds. The Air Force edited their FY 2000–07 data to include funds for operational systems development. As a result, the FY 2007 major systems development total for Department of the Air Force is revised from $9.4 billion to $23.0 billion (table 1), and, in turn, total federal R&D obligations are revised upward by 12%, from $113.8 billion to $127.3 billion (table 2).
Table 1 Source Data: Excel file
Table 2 Source Data: Excel file
In addition, the FY 2007 Air Force revisions resulted in higher federal obligations to all R&D performers in the same fiscal year. The revised FY 2007 percentage distributions by R&D performer were applied backward to make estimated revisions to FY 2000–06 R&D performer obligations.
Reporting of Department of Defense R&D Data
Seven budget activities (6.1 to 6.7) are defined within the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) as part of its Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation (RDT&E) budget: basic research, applied research, advanced technology development, demonstration and validation, engineering and manufacturing development, management support, and operational systems development. Funds for all of these activities are allocated to R&D in DOD responses to the survey.
Operational systems development (budget activity 6.7) includes those development projects in support of development acquisition programs or upgrades still in engineering and manufacturing development, but which have received approval for production. This area also includes major system testing and research into upgrades of existing weapon systems. (See "Definitions," below, for explanation of all seven budget activities.)
Table 3 translates RDT&E budget activities of the DOD into character of work categories for the Survey of Federal Funds for Research and Development. This mapping was created by the Office of the Director of Defense Research and Engineering and has been the long standing policy for how all DOD agencies are to report their R&D outlays and obligations.
Table 3 Source Data: Excel file
Impact of Air Force Revisions
The Air Force's revisions to FY 2000 data caused their reported major systems development funding to rise by $3.0 billion, or 33%. This in turn caused FY 2000 reported All R&D and R&D plant funding to increase by 28% (table 1). These revisions did not have an impact on any other component of R&D (research, advanced technology development, or R&D plant data).
In dollar amounts, the magnitude of the Air Force's data revisions rapidly increases when viewed over time. Revisions to numbers for FY 2003 major systems development funding, up by $9.9 billion, caused reported All R&D and R&D plant to increase by 118%. The increase to FY 2007 Air Force major systems development funding due to revision, $13.5 billion, resulted in a 115% revision in their reported All R&D and R&D plant funding.
In percentage terms, the impact of the Air Force's revisions at the federal level is substantial. The revisions to FY 2000 data caused federal development funding to rise by 9% and total federal R&D funding to rise by 4% over the originally reported figures (table 2). The revision to federal funding of development for FY 2003 resulted in a rise of 23%, with revised total federal R&D up by 11%. In FY 2007 the revision caused a 23% increase in reported federal development funding and a 12% change in total federal R&D.
The revisions have the most direct impact on industry and intramural performance totals. For example, the revisions caused reported FY 2000 federal funding of industrial performers to go up by an estimated 6% ($1.7 billion), FY 2003 by an estimated 20% ($6.8 billion), and FY 2007 by 17% ($8.1 billion) (table 4). Federal funding of intramural R&D for FY 2000 is revised by an estimated 7% ($1.2 billion), an estimated 10% ($2.3 billion) for FY 2003, and by 17% ($4.4 billion) for FY 2007. In comparison, federal funding of R&D at universities and colleges is only slightly affected by the Air Force's revisions: Total federal R&D support to universities is revised by an estimated 0.4% ($70 million) for FY 2000, an estimated 1% ($312 million) for FY 2003, and by 1% ($296 million) for FY 2007.
Table 4 Source Data: Excel file
Agencies' Funding for Development
The Air Force's FY 2007 revision increased reported DOD obligations for major systems development projects by 30%, or $13.5 billion. This in turn increased the DOD share of development originally published for FY 2007 from 88% to 90%. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the next largest funder of development with 5.5%, followed by the Department of Energy with 3% (table 5).
Table 5 Source Data: Excel file
Budget activity 6.1, basic research. Basic research is defined as systematic study directed toward greater knowledge or understanding of the fundamental aspects of phenomena and of observable facts without specific applications towards processes or products in mind. It includes activities directed toward increasing fundamental knowledge and understanding in those fields of the physical, engineering, environmental, and life sciences related to long-term national security needs. It forms the base for subsequent applied research and advanced technology developments in defense-related technologies, and new and improved military functional capabilities.
Budget activity 6.2, applied research. Applied research is defined as systematic study to gain knowledge or understanding necessary to determine the means by which a recognized and specific need may be met. This activity translates promising basic research into solutions for broadly defined military needs, short of development projects. The dominant characteristic of this category is that it be pointed toward specific military needs with a view toward developing and evaluating the feasibility and practicability of proposed solutions and determining their parameters.
Budget activity 6.3, advanced technology development. Advanced technology development includes all efforts that have moved into the development and integration of hardware for field experiments and tests. The results are proof of technological feasibility and assessment of operability and producibility rather than the development of hardware for service use. Projects in this category have a direct relevance to identified military needs.
Budget activity 6.4, demonstration and validation. Demonstration and validation includes all efforts necessary to evaluate integrated technologies in as realistic an operating environment as possible to assess the performance or cost reduction potential of advanced technology.
Budget activity 6.5, engineering and manufacturing development. Engineering and manufacturing development includes those projects in engineering and manufacturing development for service use but which have not received approval for full-rate production. This area is characterized by major line-item projects.
Budget activity 6.6, RDT&E management support. Management support includes support of installations or operations required for general R&D use. Included would be test ranges, military construction, maintenance support of laboratories, operation and maintenance of test aircraft and ships, and studies and analyses in support of the R&D program. Costs of laboratory personnel, either in-house or contractor operated, would be assigned as a line item in the basic research, applied research, or advanced technology development program areas, as appropriate.
Budget activity 6.7, operational systems development. Operational systems development includes those development projects in support of development acquisition programs or upgrades still in engineering and manufacturing development, but which have received approval for production. This area also includes major system testing and research into upgrades of existing weapon systems.
The full set of detailed tables from this survey will be available in the revised report Federal Funds for Research and Development: Fiscal Years 2007, 2008, and 2009 at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/fedfunds/. Revised tables for the years FY 2000 to FY 2006 are being prepared. For more information, please contact the author.
 Michael Yamaner, Research and Development Statistics Program, Division of Science Resources Statistics, NSF, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 965, Arlington, VA 22230 (firstname.lastname@example.org; 703-292-7815).
 Official communication from the Department of the Air Force's Office of the Assistant Secretary (Budget).