Federal Manager's Daily Report

OMB has instructed agencies on the administration’s R&D priorities for the budget proposal to be made early next year, saying that funding should be “focused primarily on basic and early-stage applied research, paired with targeted deregulation, and investment in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education and workforce development.”

Memo M-18-22, issued in advance of agency submissions for the fiscal 2020 budget proposal, said that “as adversaries leverage emerging technologies to threaten the nation, it is imperative that we invest in R&D to maintain military superiority and keep the American people safe. This requires prioritized investment in AI, autonomous systems, hypersonics, a modernized nuclear deterrent, and advanced microelectronics, computing, and cyber capabilities. Advanced cyber capabilities at scale require investment in new computing and technology paradigms, including adaptive and automated defensive measures.”

“Agencies should also invest in R&D to improve the security and resilience of the nation and its critical infrastructure from natural hazards, physical threats, cyber-attacks, and emerging threats from autonomous systems and biological agents. In order to develop stronger air, land, and maritime border defenses, agencies should invest in technologies for border surveillance and capabilities to detect and interdict illegal activity, including the smuggling of contraband or other illicit materials. Agencies should enhance decision-making before, during, and after natural disasters by investing in geospatial decision support tools and innovative approaches to improve weather prediction,” it said.

These are to include a focus on artificial intelligence including machine learning, autonomous systems, and applications “at the human-technology frontier”; high-performance computing; advanced communications networks; development of advanced materials and the associated processing technologies; and others.

The memo also details what it calls “priority practices to effectively leverage R&D resources, including R&D workforce and infrastructure” including initiatives that reskill workers for the jobs of the future.