WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations and its subcommittee on defense, today conducted a classified subcommittee hearing to review the Fiscal Year 2020 budget request for defense innovation and research funding.
Witnesses during the closed hearing included Dr. Michael D. Griffin, Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering and former NASA Administrator and eminent scholar at the University of Alabama in Huntsville; and Dr. Steven H. Walker, Director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
Following the witness testimonies, Senator Shelby questioned Dr. Griffin and Dr. Walker about hypersonic missile development, hypersonic missile defenses, artificial intelligence, 5G, and the Defense Department’s efforts to establish a Space Development Agency.
Senator Shelby’s opening remarks, as prepared, are as follows:
“This morning, we meet to review the fiscal year 2020 budget request for Department of Defense innovation and research programs. We welcome our panel: Dr. Michael D. Griffin, Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, and Dr. Steven H. Walker, Director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
“In order for our military to maintain its technological advantage over near-peer adversaries, we must focus on research and development programs that will get the most advanced capabilities to our warfighters. This subcommittee appreciates the Department making technology modernization a top priority in its fiscal year 2020 budget request.
“In the fiscal year 2019 Department of Defense conference agreement, Congress made critical investments in priorities such as Hypersonics, Missile Defense, Microelectronics, Directed Energy, Cybersecurity and Artificial Intelligence.
“We would like to know what progress is being made in these areas and what further investments the Department is proposing in the fiscal year 2020 budget request to achieve cutting-edge capabilities.
“We are speaking with you today in a closed session because we believe that it is important to delve into advanced technology priorities in a classified setting Specifically, we would like to hear your thoughts on the efforts of China and Russia to develop next generation capabilities across the air, land, maritime, space and cyber domains, and our ability to deter and prevail against them.
“Dr. Griffin and Dr. Walker, again, we look forward to hearing from you, but before we proceed to your opening statements, I turn to the Vice Chairman, Senator Durbin, for his opening remarks. Thank you.”