Defense R&D takes a turn toward smaller vendors

As overall Pentagon R&D spending has declined over the past decade, more research contracts are going to smaller vendors at the expense of the so-called “Big Five” military contractors, according a budget analysis released this week.

An assessment by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) of the defense industrial base found that Defense Department research spending has been declining steadily as a percentage of federal R&D contracts since its peak in fiscal 2009. Over that period, military R&D contract obligations declined from nearly half the U.S. research budget in 2009 to just 22.4 percent of last year’s $49.3 billion federal R&D budget.

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