WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations and its subcommittee on defense, today questioned witnesses during a defense appropriations subcommittee hearing on the Defense Department’s technology, innovation, and modernization priorities and efforts. The two witnesses who testified in the hearing were Ms. Barbara McQuiston, Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering at the Department of Defense, and Dr. Stefanie Tompkins, Director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
Senator Shelby’s opening remarks, as prepared, are as follows:
“Ms. McQuiston, Dr. Tompkins, welcome, and thank you for being here today.
“This Committee has appropriated billions of dollars for basic research, applied research, and advanced technology development to support efforts that would allow our military to maintain a competitive and strategic advantage over our adversaries.
“Our technological and industrial progress remain a constant target from China, Russia, and other nation states who are actively working to undermine and surpass our military’s advancements.
“We need a ready and lethal force, equipped with modernized systems capable of providing strong national security and, importantly, deterring war.
“Our investments in innovative research are critical in guaranteeing success.
“Over the last four years, this Committee has supported the necessary budget increases in cutting-edge research areas such as hypersonics, artificial intelligence, unmanned systems, and microelectronics to address warfighter needs and capability gaps.
“With the top line budget recommendation unveiled by the current administration last week, I am extremely concerned about our ability to continue to make those essential strategic investments that will allow us to keep pace.
“I look forward to hearing from you about the progress being made in innovation and technology within the Department of Defense and how resource constraints may impact the Department’s ability to field cutting edge technology.
“I also recognize that we are significantly constrained from getting into many of the details that would provide for a comprehensive discussion in an open hearing setting so, perhaps Mr. Chairman, we could consider a classified discussion with our witnesses at a later date. Thank you.”