A poor anaysis from Reg readers (sorry).
I work in an organisation issuing government grants for science.
*Please* everyone - always remember that the government has taken your tax to put into research, and the political right wing do *not* want to do that unless it is spent efficiently and they have some control over how it is used. They have to account for it to the voters. They can't just take the lefty approach saying "Here you go scientists, here's tons of other people's cash. You decide how best to spend it".
The military are actually pretty good at this, because they are a long way ahead of commercial products in terms of basic science knowledge (materials, optics, computing, physics and what is called "human effectiveness"). They're very careful to direct the research toward the results they want, and avoid recovering the same ground.
And *please* do not think that the highest level of political players are all idiots. They clearly are not. No one wants to have to justify to the press why your staff spending half a million quid on a study of how shiny their pens are. It has to be part of a top-level strategy, not a free for all.