Lawmakers Urge Technology Advancement Despite Budget Constraints

Despite the sequestration funding cuts, the military must continue to pursue advances in cyber and directed energy weapons and continue aggressive research and development, said two key members of the House Armed Services Committee on July 24 during a Brookings Institution forum in Washington, D.C. Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.), chairman of the seapower and projection forces subcommittee, and Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.), the ranking member of the intelligence and emerging threats panel, said Congress must push the armed services to continue to innovate during a time of budget constraints. Langevin cited cyber warfare as a crucial area of continued development because even non-state adversaries could acquire damaging capabilities. He also urged an emphasis on directed energy, such as high-power lasers, that could provide a low-cost defense against proliferating missiles. Forbes agreed with those priorities and said the military must support robust R&D budgets to develop future technologies, despite the urge by some lawmakers in a time of declining budgets to protect parochial interests. A prime example, though not mentioned specifically, is Congress’ opposition to the Air Force’s request to retire the A-10 attack jets and some E-3 AWAC planes to preserve funds for readiness.