Financial Management

Research & Development Appropriation

Research, Development, Test & Evaluation (RDT&E) Appropriations (Appropriations Categories) finances expense and investment costs necessary for basic and applied scientific research, development, test, and evaluation including maintenance, rehabilitation, lease of operation of facilities and equipment.

RDT&E appropriations are used to finance the following efforts: See Research & Development Costs

  • Research, Development, Test & Evaluation Efforts, (covers the equipment, material or computer application software developed with RDT&E funds)
  • Development Test and Evaluation (DT&E)
  • Operational Test and Evaluation (OT&E)
  • Research and Development (R&D) installations and activities (finances the operation of certain government R&D installations and activities engaged in the conduct of R&D programs
  • RDT&E Management Support
  • Operational system development
  • Scientific experiments
  • Studies (feasibility, design, engineering, theoretical, definition, related weapon)
  • Analysis of Alternatives (AoA)
  • Product improvement efforts that exceed the current performance envelope

Each RDT&E appropriation is subdivided into seven (7) Budget Activities (BA):

Time Limitation

Available for new obligations for two (2) fiscal years

Funding Policy

Incremental Funding Policy/Incremental Programming Policy

Types of Costs

Expense and investment costs

Acquisition Milestone

Normally pre-Milestone C efforts although some programs are executed in a concurrent manner or have block upgrades or spiral developmental increments that require R&D.


Low-Rate Initial Production (LRIP) test articles must be specifically identified in the budget documentation but during execution, programs may increase the number of engineering and design models, and test articles as needed.

May NOT Fund

These funds may not be used for policy development and guidance; management and distribution of resources; program performance review and evaluation; planning, programming, and budgeting; other direct expenses of HQ/PEO personnel; and any other costs more appropriately funded by other specific appropriations.


– The Navy R&D activities are operated under the Navy working Capital Fund. Customers purchasing goods and services from these Navy R&D activities will generally use RDT&E funds to finance these purchases and certain industrial facilities ad R&D installation RDT&E finances the acquisition or construction of certain industrial facilities costing less that $750,000 at R&D installations.
– More detailed definitions for RDT&E Budget Activities are contained in DoD Financial Management Regulation 7000.14-R, Volume 2B, Chapter 5, paragraph 050201.

AcqLinks and References:

Updated: 7/16/2021

Rank: G1

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