A provision that would limit Defense Department procurement to
U.S. companies will be defeated during House-Senate negotiations
over the Defense appropriations bill for fiscal 2004, a House
lawmaker said on Wednesday.
"We're not going to stop our cooperation with our allies," Rep.
Curt Weldon, R-Pa., told an audience of government officials and
defense technology contractors. "We will back off."
Weldon praised the sponsor of the so-called Buy American Act,
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Duncan Hunter, R-Calif.,
but said curtailing cooperation with tech companies in allied
countries would negatively impact the U.S. military.
Weldon said the best solution to the United States' security
problems is to significantly increase funding but noted that
budget deficits make that difficult. Therefore, he said, the
military has to "work smarter" and buy more off-the-shelf
Weldon also said some of the best innovations are the work of
small companies and entrepreneurs. He pointed to a provision in
the Defense appropriations bill that creates a new initiative
designed for entrepreneurs and small businesses. That would
complement the continuation of several existing government
programs to help small businesses, he said.
Weldon challenged the companies in the room to give the
government their ideas and proposed solutions to security
problems. He said that companies could e-mail him directly and
that he personally reads every e-mail he gets. "You're the future
of our security," he said.
Norman Neureiter, science and technology adviser to the
secretary of State, highlighted the importance of science and
technology to national security because it can be applied to
intelligence, diplomacy and war-fighting.
Neureiter, who leaves office Sept. 18 to be replaced by
University of Arizona professor George Atkinson, said the "new
world order" envisioned in the early 1990s has not materialized.
"Let me tell you folks, we don't have a new world order," he
said. "We have a world of inordinate disorder."
Atkinson just returned from a meeting with Pakistani leader
Pervez Musharraf, who told him that science and technology must be
foundations of economic development and stability in that country.