Defense R&D Outlook

Technological Superiority

Posted on 11 Jun 2018 0 comments

The United States has long maintained its military advantage through technological superiority and continues its position as world leader via sustained investment in research & development. The U.S. has been greatly rewarded for this decades-long investment with breakthroughs in science and technology that have made their way into the hands of our warfighters.

Researchers from ARL and Washington State University have discovered a new type of energetic material that could triple the energy content of well-known explosives such as the ones pictured here. ARL has discovered that engagement with academic and industry partners at the early stage of development is crucial to technology transition and transfer because it allows the Army to better understand the partner’s technology and, in turn, helps the partner to better understand the Army’s requirements. (U.S. Army photo)

Researchers from ARL and Washington State University have discovered a new type of energetic material that could triple the energy content of well-known explosives such as the ones pictured here. ARL has discovered that engagement with academic and industry partners at the early stage of development is crucial to technology transition and transfer because it allows the Army to better understand the partner’s technology and, in turn, helps the partner to better understand the Army’s requirements. (U.S. Army photo)

In response to China and Russia’s rapidly expanding military and industrial capabilities, Congress has mandated “a once in a generation opportunity to improve how [DOD] is organized and operates,” with the goal being to improve how the U.S. Department of Defense advances technology and innovation.

In what might be one of the biggest changes to the Pentagon’s structure since the landmark Goldwater Nichols reform, the DoD has changed the way it researches, buys and develops weapon systems.

Through the restructuring of the Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics (AT&L) organization, there has been the creation of a new Research & Engineering (R&E) office as well as a new Acquisition & Sustainment (A&S) office.

R&E is focused on future high-end technologies: microelectronics, cyber, quantum science, directed energy, machine learning, networked C3, space, autonomy, and hypersonics. A&S is tasked with acquisition and sustainment, primarily leveraging existing tech and deploying it the warfighter as fast as possible.

A high-level review of R&D spending in President Trump’s FY 2020 budget proposal $718.3 billion in defense spending to cover Pentagon priorities for years to come, included $75.4 billion for research and development.

“Today the Department of Defense rolls out our FY 2020 budget proposal. With the largest research and development request in 70 years, this strategy-driven budget makes necessary investments in next-generation technology, space, missiles, and cyber capabilities. The operations and capabilities supported by this budget will strongly position the US military for great power competition for decades to come.”

Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick M. Shanahan