US Military Technology Sponsorship to Change

The budget of the US Department of Defense is essential knowledge for companies that specialize in defense technology innovation.

FREMONT, CA: The United States and its allies operate in a secure environment that is becoming increasingly complicated, and defense technology is growing swiftly in response. Recent public pronouncements from the Pentagon underscore the significance of prioritizing science and technology innovation to maintain the US military's competitive edge. US policymakers also look to the private sector, including commercial enterprises and nontraditional defense contractors, to expedite the development and applying new technologies. The US Department of Defense (DOD) budget for 2022 contained a record-breaking proposal for research, development, testing, and evaluation (RDTE).

But how much financing is easily available for innovation, and whose organizations receive it? Which technologies are essential investment targets? These issues are crucial for defense companies and investors interested in potential in the sector. To answer these questions, according to Mckinsey and the company, defense technology innovation is funded by DOD R&D, including investments in early-stage science and technology programs, prototyping initiatives, and pilot programs for AI software and digital technologies.

Mckinsey and company analysis indicated that innovation spending amounted to around 4 percent of the $857 billion US national-security budget for 2022, or $34 billion. Notably, this percentage has stayed the same over time.

Given the comparatively low financing for defense technology research, it is still being determined whether there will be sufficient resources to support the high-tech priorities incorporated into the DOD's future architecture plans. Similarly, defense start-ups and commercial technology companies may wonder whether the demand for defense tech innovation is adequate to warrant a concentration on these services.

According to the DOD's plan for the fiscal year 2023, the proportion of the US security budget allocated to defense technology innovation is expected to stay the same over the following five years. In terms of dollars, funding might increase from $34 billion to $40 billion in 2023 and remain relatively stable through 2027.

In its proposal for the fiscal year 2023, the Department of Defense (DOD) has earmarked an additional $92 billion for late-stage research and development (more mature platforms). Nontraditional providers are more likely to find possibilities if they strive to gain a piece of the $34 billion in DOD RDTE funding allocated to defense technology research.

The Department of Defense's most recent Future Years Defense Plan provides insight into technological trends. Air platforms and platform systems, hypersonic and strategic attacks, air and missile defense systems, and space and space-based systems, will get the largest share of funding for defense technology innovation through 2027. Microelectronics, science, technology, engineering, mathematics research, command, control, communication, and computer operations will also receive substantial investment. Air platforms and platform systems rank first in predicted future growth.

Unless they carefully analyze their alternatives, the tiny fraction of the DOD budget allotted to defense technology innovation may not be sufficient for defense start-ups looking to obtain capital or meet high valuations. Successful defense technology enterprises will generally "follow the money" to the technologies and markets with the most favorable funding prospects, dual-use applications, and near-term access to existing programs.

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