White House official visits Natick
September 10, 2013
NATICK, MASS. (Sept. 10, 2013) -- Dr. Patricia Falcone, associate director for National Security and International Affairs at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, received orientation tours and addressed the workforce during a Sept. 4 visit to the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center.
Falcone served on the Board of Army Science and Technology for the National Academies of Science from 2007 to 2009.
Falcone spoke to NSRDEC workers about "Science, Technology and Innovation for America's National Security," and she took questions from the audience. She also was given a number of briefings.
"Science and technology is a critical part of our national security," Falcone said. "We are here now in the 21st century, and we have to make sure that we have the capacity to bring all kinds of technology and new innovation to these missions, and that involves, of course, both excellent S&T but a deep understanding of the operational context into which we're going to bring it."
Falcone said that the goal of those in science and technology is to get research and development funded at a rate of three percent of gross domestic product.
"We're not there right now. We're at about 2.7, 2.8 percent," said Falcone, noting that two-thirds of R&D funds come from industry. "It depends on the economy.
"We believe that even as the budgets are going down -- in (the Department of Defense), in particular -- that the science and technology should increase with inflation."
Falcone also stressed the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs and lauded Natick's STEM initiatives.
"It was just very clear you have a very deep and rich program and engagement with the community," Falcone said.
Falcone noted that President Obama believes that science and technology are crucial to the nation's future.
"You here at Natick are really a very key and important part of the national security (research and development) enterprise," said Falcone, "and we are so pleased that you come to work each day with so much enthusiasm and you've delivered so much impact to the Soldiers in the past and today and going forward."