What No One Else Will Do

The Air Force will not cut its science and technology budget much, but officials are subjecting priorities within the budget to a needs test, said Air Force Research Lab Chief Technologist Jennifer Ricklin on Wednesday. The Air Force has placed the highest priorities on technology areas where “no one else is going to do it for us,” said Ricklin at an Aviation Week conference in Arlington, Va. This means those technologies that have application to USAF and few others. Among those will be high-speed propulsion, she said. Areas of “increased emphasis” in the Air Force’s S&T program include—not necessarily in order of importance—cyber, energy, human performance, sustainment, nuclear, autonomous flight, long-range strike, and situational awareness, she said. Activity in some of these areas will grow “at the expense of others” not on the list as AFRL shakes out the priorities, she noted. “There are some businesses we are getting out of,” asserted Ricklin, without giving details.