Pentagon cuts tech research funds; AI, networking budgets remain steady.


  • The Pentagon is trimming its tech research funding request for fiscal year 2025, with a focus on maintaining key technology accounts.
  • Funding for AI, networking, and other top technology priorities will remain steady or see a slight decline.

Funding for some of the Pentagon’s top technology research priorities will hold steady or decline slightly in fiscal 2025, according to the latest defense spending blueprint. The Defense Department is seeking $143.2 billion in research and development money for the coming fiscal year, which is a decrease from last year’s request. The Deputy Secretary of Defense, Kathleen Hicks, mentioned that constraints imposed by the 2023 Fiscal Responsibility Act are to blame for the somewhat smaller spending outlook.

The budget request includes funding for Combined Joint All-Domain Command and Control (CJADC2) and AI, with investments in basic research, advanced technology, experimentation, artificial intelligence, and cyber and space capabilities. The Pentagon comptroller, Mike McCord, highlighted the challenge of detailing investments in AI, as it is ingrained in various projects across the department.

The department has reduced its ask for the Rapid Defense Experimentation Reserve, an effort to fill high-priority capability needs with advanced technology. The request also includes funding for the Office of Strategic Capital, which focuses on drawing private-sector funding toward military technologies. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin created OSC in 2022 to prioritize areas like biotechnology, space-enabled services and systems, quantum sensing, and battery storage.

The Pentagon is juggling over 685 AI-related projects, including those tied to major weapons systems, with a focus on areas like long-range fires in the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command. The department is waiting on FY24 funding approval from Congress to build and field systems. Overall, the funding request reflects a strategic approach to maintaining key technology accounts within the constraints of the Fiscal Responsibility Act.