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Federal Research and Development Contract Trends and the Supporting Industrial Base, 2000-2014

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Conference Paper

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Center for Strategic and International Studies Washington United States

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As the current budget drawdown has progressed, numerous policy makers and informed observers have expressed concerns about the effect on federal research and development R and D efforts. Across the federal government, but particularly within the Department of Defense DoD, there have been fears that the sharp downturn in federal contract obligations would disproportionately impact the R and D contracting portfolios within individual agencies and their major components. Looking at the period from 20002014, this report examines data for the four major R and D contracting agencies the DoD, NASA, the HHS, and the Department of Energy. It also examines four hypotheses, generated by the study team from a review of the literature and consultation with experts, that test how the budget drawdown has affected the R and D contracting portfolios, and the industrial base that supports those efforts, within each R and D contracting agency. The main finding of this initial inquiry is that the conventional wisdom regarding how R and D contracting would be affected by the budget drawdown has not been borne out. Early stage,seed corn R and D has been relatively protected, cuts were not done within agencies on a salami slice basis, and large prime vendors have seen their shares of the federal R and D contracting market decline precipitously.


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