“The U.S. S&T workforce must be able to quickly recognize movements in the frontiers of knowledge and the potential for new military applications stemming from new knowledge or a combination of existing knowledge and new technology. The required awareness can be maintained only if the U.S. S&T workforce is a participant in the global S&T community. This is true for the DOD S&T workforce as well.”1
The United States has a long history of defense science cooperation and collaboration with its allies. For example, since World War II, the United States has worked with researchers from its “five eyes” partners (United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand) under The Technical Cooperation Program (TTCP). The Department of Defense (DoD) is also an active participant in science and technology (S&T) fora such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s Science and Technology Organization (NATO STO) and regularly engages, coordinates, and collaborates with its allied defense counterparts through ongoing dialogues and scientist and engineer (S&E) exchanges at DoD’s laboratories and research centers. In addition, each of the Services maintain an overseas presence to monitor technological developments (and to collaborate as necessary) in order to prevent “technological surprise.”2
DoD’s international S&T engagement and collaboration efforts serve two purposes: to maintain awareness of, and to ultimately leverage, militarily relevant S&T capabilities developed outside the United States, and to develop and nurture
1Globalization of S&T: Key Challenges Facing DOD. Timothy Coffey and Steve Ramberg. National Defense University: Center for Technology and National Security Policy. February 2012. p. 1.
2Four definitions of Technology Surprise include the following: (1) a major technological breakthrough in science or engineering (generally rare events, enabled by experts within a field); (2) a revelation of secret progress (by a second party which may have an unanticipated impact); (3) temporal surprise (when a party makes more rapid development or advancement in a particular technology than anticipated); and (4) innovative technology applications (such innovations often do not necessarily require technical expertise, but rather the creativity to use available resources in a new way). Avoiding Technology Surprise for Tomorrow’s Warfighter: A Symposium Report. National Research Council. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. 2009.
strategic defense relationships with other countries. The ongoing globalization of research and development, as well as the interconnectedness of international research communities, has important implications for both of these defense objectives. In fact, the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) acknowledged that: “[u]nprecedented levels of global interconnectedness through technology, travel, trade, and social media provide common incentives for, and more effective means of, fostering international cooperation and shared norms of behavior.”3 Security under globalization needs to depend less on technological dominance and more on cooperative relationships. This is particularly important, as there are areas of science and technology where the leading edge is not driven by the military research establishment, thus necessitating collaboration to simply maintain technological competency.
Chapter 2 examines current approaches used by the DoD for engaging the global research landscape and for maintaining global S&T awareness. Section 2.1 begins with a brief overview of the components of the DoD research enterprise, then provides a more detailed description of the Army, Air Force, and Navy S&T enterprises. Section 2.2 describes DoD’s most recent International Science and Technology Strategy, and Section 2.3 examines mechanisms for global S&T awareness and engagement currently employed by the DoD, specifically the Services’ international field offices and corporate laboratories. Section 2.4 looks at the current DoD S&T workforce, and Section 2.5 concludes by examining current efforts throughout various components of the DoD to coordinate and leverage others’ global S&T engagement and awareness practices, as well as to build an integrated picture of the global S&T landscape across the entire Defense Research Enterprise (DRE).
The defense research enterprise (DRE) is comprised of researchers at each of the Services’ (Navy, Air Force, and Army) laboratories and warfare centers, University-Affiliated Research Centers (UARCs), and Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs)4. DoD also funds a large community of extramural researchers in academia and industry. The objective of the internal and extramural research portfolios is to fund the most promising, relevant technologies and, therefore, includes international researchers as appropriate.
3Quadrennial Defense Review 2014. U.S. Department of Defense. p. 6.
4UARCs and FFRDCs are non-profit research centers sponsored and primarily funded by the U.S. government. There are 13 DoD-sponsored UARCs, 5 of which are sponsored by the Army and 5 by the Navy. There are 10 DoD-sponsored FFRDCs, 3 of which are sponsored by OSD, 3 by the Air Force, 2 by the Army, and 1 by the Navy. http://www.defenseinnovationmarketplace.mil/UARC_FFRDC.html. Last accessed on January 28, 2014.
Within the three Services, S&T is sponsored by the Service offices of research: Office of Naval Research (ONR), Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), and the Army Research Laboratory (ARL). Each of these offices is provided a budget from its corresponding acquisition executive5 (see Figures 2-1 through 2-3 for organizational structure) and is tasked with managing and executing its organization’s S&T portfolio.
Numerous components of the DRE have international activities and responsibilities for international engagement and collaboration. Within the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (ASD(R&E)), this includes the ASD(R&E), the Office of Technical Intelligence, the Office of Basic Research, the Office of International Cooperation, and liaisons to the NATO STO, TTCP, and other bi- and multi-lateral S&T dialogues. In addition to maintaining international S&T offices (discussed in greater detail in subsequent sections) and international program offices,6 the Service laboratories (including those on university campuses and DoD-funded university researchers) engage and collaborate with international contacts. Sections 2.1.1 through 2.1.3 provide a more detailed description of each of the Services’ S&T enterprises. Section 2.1.4 describes Amy and Navy medical research units overseas which also provide useful platforms for international collaboration but were not studied in depth by the committee.
2.1.1 Army S&T Enterprise
The Army’s S&T enterprise is composed of five major units, 7 the largest of which is the Army Materiel Command (AMC) holding approximately 72 percent of the Army’s S&T budget.8,9 The AMC’s S&T budget is managed by the Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM) and executed by ARL, the Research, Development and Engineering Centers (RDECs), and RDECOM Forward Element Commands (RFECs).
5The Service acquisition executives are the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition (ASN(RD&A)); the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition (ASAF(AQ)); and the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology (ASA(AL&T)).
6The Services international program offices include the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Defense Exports and Cooperation (DASA(DE&C)), the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force for International Affairs (SAF(IA)), and the Navy International Programs Office (NIPO).
7Army Materiel Command (AMC), U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (USAMRMC), Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Army Space and Missile Defense Command (USASMDC) and HQDA, G1, Personnel.
8http://defenseinnovationmarketplace.mil/resources/042513_Miller_NDIA%20SET_Army%20ST%20Overview_Public_Release.pdf. Last accessed on January 28, 2014.
9Army 6.1 and 6.2 funding accounts for approximately 56% of the Army’s total S&T budget. For FY 2014, total S&T funding (6.1, 6.2, and 6.3) for the Army was $2,406.3 million (6.1 alone was $436.7 million). http://docs.house.gov/billsthisweek/20140113/113-HR3547-JSOM-C.pdf?dm_i=1ZJN,248QJ,E29EFK,7N6HU,1. Last accessed on February 1, 2014.
FIGURE 2-1 Army S&T Enterprise. SOURCE: Committee generated.
ARL is responsible for the majority of the Army’s basic (~20 percent of funding is 6.1) and applied (~ 40 percent of funding is for 6.2) research, which is conducted either in-house or through research grants, contracts, or cooperative agreements with researchers from academia and industry. ARL is composed of six technical directorates10 and the Army Research Office (ARO), which funds extramural research conducted by, primarily, single-investigator academic research efforts, as well as UARC and specially tailored outreach programs. ARL researchers also leverage research and development (R&D) from other U.S. government agencies, including the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), Department of Energy (DOE) labs, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
The RDECs11 are closely associated with the Army’s commodity commands, providing technology solutions to meet current operational needs, as well as organic Army R&D capability.
10Weapons and Materials, Sensors and Electronic Devices, Information Technology, Vehicle Technology, Human Research and Engineering, and Survivability and Lethality.
11Aviation & Missile Research, Development & Engineering Center (AMRDEC); Armaments Research, Development & Engineering Center (ARDEC); Communications-
FIGURE 2-2 Air Force S&T Enterprise. SOURCE: Committee generated.
The RFECs are responsible for managing and coordinating the Army’s international S&T activities12 through its International Technology Centers (ITCs)13 and Field Assistance in Science and Technology (FAST) teams. The three regional ITCs are located in Tokyo, Japan (ITC–Pacific); Santiago, Chile (ITC–Americas); and London, United Kingdom (ITC–Atlantic). The goal of the ITCs is to foster
Electronics Research, Development & Engineering Center (CERDEC); Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC); Natick Soldier Research, Development & Engineering Center (NSRDEC); Tank Automotive Research, Development & Engineering Center (TARDEC).
12Other Army S&T organizations, such as the Medical Research and Materiel Command (MRMC), also have overseas offices to maintain cognizance of foreign S&T developments or to conduct research. MRMC has established several medical-related collaboration centers that include CPHRL, AFRIMS and USAMRU-E, USAMRU-K Army International Medical Laboratories on Infectious Disease. As this study is focused on DOD international science and technology challenges and opportunity at the 6.1 and 6.2 research levels, only activities associated with the RDECOM/RFEC/ITC are addressed.
13The operating budgets for the field offices are approximately: $3.96 million (ITC-Atlantic), $1.87million (ITC-Americas), and $2.33 million (ITC-Pacific). Documents provided by AFOSR.
international relationships and to identify, assess, and facilitate cooperative science and technology fundamental research opportunities.14 Historically, all of the Army international offices were organized under and wholly supported by ARO; following the establishment of RDECOM in 2004, the international field offices were transferred into the RFECs.
FIGURE 2-3 Navy S&T Enterprise. SOURCE: Committee generated.
2.1.2 Air Force S&T Enterprise
The Air Force’s S&T budget15 is managed by the Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC) and executed by the Air Force Research Laboratory. AFRL is composed of eight technical directorates and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR). The eight directorates16 conduct in-house research or are
14http://188.8.131.52/~iassaor/files/Cynthia%20Bedell%20-%20US%20Army%20RDECOM.pdf Retrieved online March 31, 2014.
15Air Force 6.1 and 6.2 funding accounts for approximately 71 percent of the Air Force S&T budget. For FY 2014, total S&T funding (6.1, 6.2, and 6.3) for the Air Force was $2,392.0 million (6.1 alone was $524.7 million). http://docs.house.gov/billsthisweek/20140113/113-HR3547-JSOM-C.pdf?dm_i=1ZJN,248QJ,E29EFK,7N6HU,1. Last accessed on February 1, 2014.
16Space Vehicles, Information, Aerospace Systems, Directed Energy, Materials & Manufacturing, Sensors, Munitions, Human Performance.
under contract to external entities. AFOSR manages the Air Force’s entire basic research program, which is carried out extramurally in academia, industry, and other government laboratories (approximately 70 percent), as well as intramurally with AFRL (approximately 30 percent).
The AFOSR International Office (AFOSR/IO), located in Arlington, Virginia, serves three main functions: (1) it is the international point of contact for AFOSR (establishing international research initiatives with world-class researchers and institutions to support AFOSR programs, identifying and advocating international opportunities to work with AFOSR, providing technology security screening and training for international efforts to include AFOSR and AFRL, and administering the Engineer and Scientist Exchange Program (ESEP) and Window-on-Europe, -Asia, and -Americas Program); (2) it oversees the liaison for basic research activities with all of the Americas, and (3) it supports the overall AFRL International Enterprise in developing strategies, representing AFRL at international forums, maintaining a database of international AFRL activity, performing data-mining and related training, publishing the tri weekly AFRL International Notes, hosting the annual AFRL-wide IPOC (international point of contact) Workshop, and representing AFRL as the international liaison in the National Capitol Area.17
AFOSR also has three forward-deployed detachments that “provide direct interchange with members of the scientific and engineering community and encourage the establishment of beneficial relationships between Air Force scientists and engineers and their foreign counterparts within their respective geographical and technical areas of responsibility.”18 The three detachments are located in Tokyo, Japan (Asian Office of Aerospace Research and Development, or AOARD); Santiago, Chile (Southern Office of Aerospace Research and Development, or SOARD); and London, United Kingdom (European Office of Aerospace Research and Development, or EOARD), and their mission is to integrate and support AFRL fundamental research with discoveries of emerging foreign science.
2.1.3 Navy S&T Enterprise
The S&T budget19 for the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) is managed and executed by the Office of Naval Research, located in Arlington, Virginia. ONR has six S&T departments that fund basic research programs at U.S. universities, government and non-government research laboratories, and private industry.
17http://www.wpafb.af.mil/library/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=8971. Retrieved March 31, 2014.
19Navy 6.1 and 6.2 funding accounts for approximately 70% of the Navy’s S&T budget. For FY 2014, total S&T funding (6.1, 6.2, and 6.3) for the Navy was $2,077.3 million (6.1 alone was $619.3 million). http://docs.house.gov/billsthisweek/20140113/113-HR3547-JSOM-C.pdf?dm_i=1ZJN,248QJ,E29EFK,7N6HU,1. Last accessed on February 1, 2014.
The Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) is the Navy’s corporate research laboratory and conducts a broad-based multidisciplinary program of scientific research and advanced technological development. It is composed of four directorates20 that conduct scientific research and the Naval Center for Space Technology. In 2012, NRL received by direct appropriation only a small portion of its overall budget as core funding from ONR.
The Office of Naval Research Global (ONR-G) provides worldwide S&T solutions for current and future naval challenges and had a budget of $29.9 million in 201321. ONR-G engages the broad global research community to build and foster international collaboration, and it maintains an overseas presence with international field offices in London, Tokyo, Singapore, Santiago, and Prague. ONR-G staff include associate directors who “serve as the international arm of ONR, help to shape the Navy’s international engagement strategy, and establish insight into research agendas of ONR, NRL, and the NRE [Naval Research Enterprise] organizations,”22 as well as science advisors who serve around the world as a command’s senior liaison with S&T organizations in government, academia, and industry. ONR-G also sponsors programs that foster collaboration between Navy personnel, scientists, and technologists around the world, including the Visiting Scientists Program, Collaborative Science Program, and Naval International Cooperation Opportunities in S&T Program (NICOP).
2.1.4 Army and Navy Medical Research Units Overseas
The U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery and the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command have medical research units, sometimes referred to as labs, overseas. The primary focus of these units is infectious disease research, epidemiology and biosurveillance. The overseas Navy Medical Research Units (NMRU) are located in Cairo, Egypt (with a field site in Accra, Ghana); Lima, Peru (with a field site in Iquitos, Peru); and Singapore (with a field site in Phnom Penh, Cambodia). 23 The Army’s overseas medical labs, with a primary focus on endemic diseases and biosurveillance, are located in Nairobi, Kenya; Bangkok, Thailand; and Tiblisi, Georgia. The Army also has a lab in Germany whose main focus is psychological health of U.S. troops.24 Since the Army and Navy medical research labs overseas have a main focus on medical surveillance and epidemiology and do not have fundamental research (the main
20Systems, Materials Science & Component Technology, Ocean & Atmospheric Science & Technology, and Naval Center for Space Technology.
21Briefing received from ONR-Global on March 26, 2013.
23Available at http://navymedicine.navylive.dodlive.mil/archives/5906 (last accessed on May 19, 2014).
24Personal communication with Drs. John Frazer Glenn and George V. Ludwig, Principal Assistant and Deputy PA, respectively, for Research and Technology, U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, Fort Detrick, MD on April 22, 2013.
focus of this study) as a primary focus, their operations were not explored in depth by the study committee. A small group from the study committee did visit the Army’s overseas lab in Bangkok in August 2013 to learn about their operations.
In 2005, DDR&E25 (Director of Defense Research for Research and Engineering) issued guidance to the DRE through the International Science and Technology Strategy26 for the U.S. Department of Defense with the goal of facilitating international cooperation through S&T collaboration. The strategy presented the rationale for international S&T cooperation and proposed the following six broad areas of interest: basic research, information assurance, battle space awareness, force protection, reduced cost of ownership, and transformation initiatives. The strategy also described a tiered approach to international cooperation that begins with Services’ and Agency’s program officers who have global awareness of their technical discipline. The guidance states that each Service should maintain international technical representatives to “serve as liaison with the international S&T community; not only government to government, but with academic and industrial entities as well.” The next tier consists of international agreements—for the exchange of people, information and material—that are typically government to government and executed through NATO STO, TTCP, and bi- and multi-lateral agreements. While the strategy states the expectation that DoD will maintain an international S&T program and that “reasonable investments” will be made, it neither provides specifics on implementation, nor does it provide measures of effectiveness beyond “increases in defense technological capability” for the United States and our allies.
Reliance 21,27 the overarching framework of the DoD’s S&T joint planning and coordination process, assigns responsibility for coordination of international S&T engagement to a Community of Interest (COI) for each of 17 crosscutting technical areas, but defines no specific outcomes or strategies for doing so. The technical areas of interest are shown in Figure 2-4. The committee observes that virtually all of these areas are of keen interest both to other nations’ defense establishments and to researchers in public and private sectors alike.
25The 2011 signing of the National Defense Authorization Act resulted in the renaming of DDR&E to ASDR&E (Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering).
26International Science and Technology Strategy for the United States Department of Defense. Department of Defense Research & Engineering. Approved for public release; distribution unlimited. April 2005.
27Reliance 21. Operating Principles: Bringing Together the DoD Science and Technology Enterprise. January 2014,p. 6.
FIGURE 2-4 Technical areas of interest identified in Reliance 21. SOURCE: DoD S&T International Strategy and Priorities. Mr. Alan Shaffer. Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense Research & Engineering. Briefing on April 3, 2013.
The committee was informed in April 2013 that an updated international strategy for R&D is under development, but did not have access to such a strategy prior to report publication.
Based on discussions with researchers and leaders across the DRE, the study committee believes DoD is heavily reliant on extramural researchers to maintain comprehensive global awareness of what is happening in their respective fields. However, such a strategy is inadequate as DoD awareness of international S&T cannot be maintained through its extramural research communities alone. In addition, intra-DRE knowledge exchange is not sufficient for fulfilling the technology-prospecting and partnership-building missions of the international arms of the DRE (e.g., the Services’ international offices in the United States and overseas).
This section describes global S&T engagement mechanisms that are currently in place by various components of the DRE, including: conference support and attendance; overseas meetings with non-U.S. researchers at universities, industry, and foreign government S&T offices; scientist exchanges; overseas research funding (small seed grants); data analytics and horizon scanning; TTCP; NATO STO; and U.S. government bi- and multilateral S&T cooperation agreements. All of these mechanisms, excluding data analytics and horizon scanning, involve direct contact with international technologists, that is, one has to be part of and directly engage with the community to leverage it.
The following descriptions and observations of engagement mechanisms currently in place by the DRE are based on briefings and discussions with the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (ASD(R&E)) and the Service S&T organizations (AFOSR, ONR, and Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology [ASA(AL&T)]) on their international programs, as well as observations from committee subgroup visits to the Services’ corporate research laboratories in Adelphi, Maryland; Washington, D.C.; and Dayton, Ohio, and to the Services’ international field offices in Tokyo, Japan, and London, England.
2.3.1 Global Engagement by the Services’ International Field Offices
In April and October of 2013, two committee subgroups met with staff from each of the Services’ international field offices. The purpose of these meetings was to provide the study committee insight into how each office operates and what each of the offices sees as the greatest opportunities and challenges for global S&T engagement. During these meetings, staff from each office shared their perspectives on the following themes: mission, mechanisms for technology awareness, relationship building, enterprise coordination and connectivity, and metrics. Appendix D has a list of some, but not all, of the questions posed by the committee members during their visits. Following are observations based on these discussions.
Each of the field offices emphasized with the committee the importance of having a consistent overseas presence for each of their research enterprises. Without having an on-the-ground presence, the field offices indicated that their ability to build and maintain trusted relationships with the international research community would be significantly more difficult, and in some cases likely impossible. In addition to providing opportunities for in-person interactions, which is a critical cultural component for relationship building (particularly in Asia), an overseas presence helps to establish for the Service research offices a reputation as an active contributor to and sponsor of collaborative, basic research.
While the Services’ field offices are colocated (in London, England; Santiago, Chile; and Tokyo, Japan), each has unique S&T engagement objectives. For example, while ONR-G program managers spend a significant amount of time attending conferences and visiting international researchers (with university and industry engagement targeted to provide connections for specific U.S. counterparts), the Air Force field offices engage almost exclusively with universities due to their basic research mission. In contrast, the Army RFECs/ITCs, while also providing conference support and seed grants, spend their time predominantly on government-to-government activities such as bilateral and multilateral agreements and operational exercises due to their focus on R&D and operational support and cooperation. In addition to unique missions, the field offices have varied organizational structures and available resources.
The field offices have a range of mechanisms for global S&T awareness and engagement, such as organizing international conferences and workshops
and hosting S&E visits from the United States. Such in-person engagement allows field office staff to not only remain knowledgeable of the state-of-the-art in their respective technological fields, but also improves their ability to maintain in-country and regional awareness of emerging S&T developments. Field office staff also facilitate research collaborations between U.S. and foreign researchers and build relationships with relevant foreign S&T enterprises primarily at universities. To develop collaborative research programs that are attractive to foreign collaborators, as well as mutually beneficial, field office staff noted the importance of understanding a host country’s unique culture, as well as science and technology gaps and strengths. One such example is the joint U.S.Thailand Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Sciences (AFRIMS), in which the U.S. and Thai components have worked collaboratively for the past 50 years on tropical infectious disease research and development of diagnostics and treatments.28
Field office staff also discussed mechanisms for providing seed funding for in-country non-U.S. researchers. While seed funding represents an overall small investment, field office staff emphasized its importance for establishing new relationships, for accessing foreign research capabilities, and for leveraging research investments within their home offices and across each of the colocated field offices.
When asked about mechanisms for capturing and sharing relevant S&T information, some field office staff indicated that trip reports and technology papers are frequently prepared and deposited in various online knowledge management systems (that are accessible within, but not across, each of the Services). As an alternative to more formal mechanisms, some field office staff indicated that they stay abreast of, as well as share, relevant S&T information with the appropriate individuals by leveraging their own professional scientific networks.
Based on discussions with the field offices, the committee identified several challenges, as well as opportunities, to improve S&T engagement and awareness approaches, in areas such as staffing, conference travel and attendance, enterprise-wide coordination and reachback, success metrics, and coordination across DoD and other U.S. government offices with international S&T activities and responsibilities.
Given the small number of field office personnel tasked to maintain awareness of in-country and regional S&T development, the committee asked the field offices to discuss their staffing strategies. While the absence of a con-
28The Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Sciences (AFRIMS) originates from a 1958 joint U.S.-Thailand study on cholera. This collaboration led to the establishment of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) Cholera Research Laboratory following an exchange of letters of agreement between the Thai Foreign Ministry and the U.S. Department of State in 1960. Since 1977, the laboratory has been a bi-national institute jointly operated by the Royal Thai Army and the United States as a special foreign activity of the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research under the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command.
sistent staffing strategy across the Services might be expected due to the varied international field office missions, the committee did not observe consistent best practices for staffing. This is problematic, as the committee believes effective staffing criteria—which includes both broad and narrow technical competency, as well as in-country experience and language fluency—are critical to ensure field office success. While some field offices highlighted specific technical expertise or established in-country professional networks as staffing criteria, others did not appear to have any criteria. The latter highlights another committee observation, that field office staff positions are not seen as career-enhancing opportunities, thus making it difficult to attract and retain the best possible field office program managers.
In agreement with testimony from the field offices, the committee believes that conference attendance provides a cost-effective way for field office staff to meet emerging and eminent researchers in targeted fields and provides an opportunity to meet researchers from countries in which relationships do not exist. Not engaging with other S&Es may result in DoD in-house research becoming insular and noncompetitive. Government-wide and DoD S&T restrictions (and delays) on travel and conference attendance limit the ability of program managers to meet new researchers, deteriorate existing relationships, and hinder the ability of the field offices to fulfill their missions in a cost-effective way.29
The committee believes that effective reachback mechanisms are important for enabling enterprise-wide S&T awareness within and across each of the Services. By creating dynamic bidirectional information-sharing feedback loops between the field offices and other components of the DRE (e.g., DoD program managers, in-house S&Es at Service laboratories and research centers, and DoD-funded university researchers), the field offices can remain knowledgeable of the S&T strengths and needs of their respective research enterprises. This, in turn, can help to improve field office S&T scouting efforts and to better leverage research investments made by the field offices and by DoD program managers in the United States. Effective reachback and feedback mechanisms can enable program managers (both in the United States and overseas) to more effectively provide real-time insertion of foreign research and researchers into the home organization’s research activities and programs.
However, based on its visits to the Tri-Service field offices in London and Tokyo, the committee did not observe effective, consistent, or systematic reachback mechanisms for capturing and sharing S&T information and knowledge. Discussions with field office staff, as well as with other components of the DRE, suggest that DoD researchers are unable to fully take advantage of trip reports and technology papers filed in online knowledge management systems due to inaccessibility issues, poor system searching capabilities, and insufficient or
29Following past year travel cuts and restrictions (similar to those described by the Services S&T field offices), Australia’s Defense Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) reexamined its strategy and loosened its travel restrictions to better support international engagement.
irrelevant information. While the committee acknowledges the importance of informal, ad hoc, and personality-driven reachback mechanisms (e.g., program managers that rely on their professional networks to connect their home offices and U.S.-based researchers with foreign S&T capabilities), such mechanisms provide only a limited perspective. Further, overreliance on these informal networks can lead to developing technology scouting blinders that inadvertently ignore key technology areas and important communities of interest. Given these observations, there may be opportunities for the Services to reexamine current mechanisms for capturing, managing, and sharing information and to consider knowledge management systems that provide “push” and “pull” search-and-share functionality.
Some of the field offices cited matching funds (from their home offices or elsewhere) and transition of research to U.S. program offices as a primary success metric.30 While these metrics are useful for demonstrating cost sharing, they do not effectively assess how well the field offices are engaging with current international collaborators, identifying emerging, futures-oriented S&T for which existing research programs do not exist stateside, or establishing strategic, long-term relationships with S&Es and institutions that may become important future collaborators. For these reasons, the committee believes there are opportunities for the Service offices of research to establish clear objectives and measurable performance metrics for the field offices (as well as other components of the DRE with international S&T responsibilities). Ideally, metrics would provide insight into how successfully knowledge is captured, shared, and used so that the best global S&T benefits the DRE and that the global S&T landscape accurately informs defense science policies and decision making.
In an environment of constrained or even shrinking budgets, collaboration and coordination between the field offices should be a force multiplier for DoD to enhance its international S&T engagement efforts. As such, the committee believes there are opportunities for each of the field offices to better leverage tri-Service knowledge and investments. While coordinating personnel exchanges between field offices,31 hosting workshops and S&E visits, and occasionally cofunding seed grants for overseas research are useful, they are insufficient for fully leveraging tri-service investments.32 It appears to the committee that while each of the Service field offices has significant knowledge about the internation-
30Examples of success include Magnetic Energy Recovery Switch transition to ONR-Global’s Joint Capability Technology Demonstration (JCTD), Nippon paint that turns opaque when correct thickness (ONR-G), and Nano-bio-info partnership with Korea (AOARD).
31For example, “Ceramics for High Energy Lasers” was identified and initiated by a join AOARD/ONRG project in Tokyo and later transferred to the Army because of the same program manager’s movement from one service to another. It is now used by all three Service laboratories.
32Programs such as the AOARD-Taiwan Collaborations in Nanotechnology and with Korea in Nano-Bio-Info, which have been in place for more than 10 years, are good examples of international S&T engagement and may offer lessons for developing new models for tri-Service collaboration.
al technology landscape, few efforts have been made to build an integrated picture of the global S&T landscape. Such a picture is important for the DoD to maintain technology awareness and to leverage DoD-wide (and potentially U.S. government-wide) S&T investments.
Based on discussions with various components of the DRE, the committee also believes that the field offices would benefit from improved feedback loops with ASD(R&E) to better position the Services’ international S&T programs to more effectively inform DoD strategic decision making. In addition to participating, or remaining knowledgeable, in the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) international S&T fora (e.g., TTCP and NATO STO), there are also opportunities to improve connectivity between the Services’ international offices and those components within ASD(R&E) that have international S&T responsibilities (e.g., the Office of Basic Research, Office of Technical Intelligence, and Office of International Cooperation).
In addition to leveraging across DoD, the committee believes that there are opportunities for the field offices to better coordinate and leverage international S&T programs of other U.S. government offices (stateside and those forward deployed). For example, the field offices would benefit from closer coordination and collaboration with the State Department, in particular with U.S. embassies in-country and in their regions of interest. Working with U.S. embassies, which are influential and more extensively engaged with the local government and industrial sectors, may open doors for the field offices and expedite their S&T engagement and scouting efforts.33 The field offices would also benefit from coordination with U.S. government offices that have joint international research programs and S&E exchanges, host international workshops, and maintain international offices and staff overseas, such as the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration34 and the National Science Foundation.35
2.3.2 Global Engagement by the Service Laboratories
Committee subgroups visited AFRL, ARL, and NRL to learn about those laboratories’ strategies and mechanisms for global S&T awareness and engagement, as well as the barriers to engagement both at the lab management level and at the individual researcher level. Appendix D has a list of some of the questions posed by the committee members during their visits.
33For example, the Services’ field offices in Santiago, Chile have a good relationship with the local U.S. embassy. As a result of this strong relationship, the DoD program offices have good relations with the Chilean civilian and military S&T organizations. Therefore, Chile has become a main country in South America to meet many DoD S&T needs.
Air Force Research Laboratory
At AFRL, international S&T engagement occurs primarily through a series of government-to-government agreements (there are currently active collaborations with 18 foreign governments) that are managed by the AFRL International Program Office. Using these agreements, researchers collaborate and engage with foreign partners within each of AFRL’s technical directorates. AFRL researchers also engage with international researchers by attending targeted technical forums overseas to assess the potential for future collaboration. AFRL researchers can also participate in S&E exchange programs (such as the Engineer and Scientist Exchange Program, ESEP, which is primarily for civilians) or take military assignments at foreign defense laboratories.
While AFRL researchers reportedly do not derive a lot of value from trip reports produced by the international field offices (AOARD, EOARD, SOARD), they are strong advocates for the role those offices play in maintaining in-region relationships and opening doors. As an alternative to trip reports, AFRL researchers suggested that international technology trend assessments would provide more value. Such input from the field offices could serve as a very useful supplement to AFRL’s annual trends and opportunities document, which is currently derived from in-house S&E inputs.
AFRL plans to increase its international engagement for several reasons, including increased advocacy by OSD, the national security rebalance to the Asia Pacific region, and the need to maximize technology investments through international collaborations. This increased focus is further supported by a key finding from the 2013 Air Force Global Horizons Study, led by the Air Force Chief Scientist, which states, “Strategic opportunity exists to leverage $1.4 trillion in global R&D investment; rapid and efficient leverage of global invention/innovation is essential to sustaining advantage.” 36 An updated S&T plan is in progress and is expected to have an increased emphasis on international partnerships.
Army Research Laboratory (ARL)
At ARL, international science engagement and collaboration is managed and facilitated by the ARL International Enterprise Group, which is led by the Chief Scientist and composed of senior researchers from each of the laboratory directorates. Within each of the directorates, many ARL re-
36Global Horizons. United States Air Force Global Science and Technology Vision. AF/ST TR 13-01. June 21, 2013. Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited. SAF/PA Public Release Case No. 2013-0434, p. iv.
searchers have longstanding interactions and collaborative activities with international peers. ARL encourages international engagement by providing opportunities for researchers to attend conferences and to visit universities and research institutions overseas (each year, there are around 250 international S&T-related trips) and by making international collaboration a criterion for promotion of its researchers. In addition to funding international researchers, ARL has also created an international S&T website to create links between its program officers and counterparts in the United Kingdom, Israel, and Italy.
ARL researchers provided several examples of technologies for which international engagement was critical (e.g., synthesis of energetic materials and robust acoustic vector sensor and ground-penetrating radar) and emphasized that the most successful collaborations often require in-person interaction. At the same time, they also noted that security restrictions make it extremely difficult for non-U.S. research collaborators to work on site alongside ARL researchers (and to share computing facilities, patents, modeling and simulation codes, and experimental data). Given these challenges, ARL researchers noted the value of its international field offices, citing the role its ITCs play in facilitating information exchange and relationship building with international researchers. ARL management also indicated that there is some consideration of establishing an enhanced Army basic research function in their international field offices, as well as the use of analytics to future cast technology trends.
Despite having the smallest international budget of the three Services, ARL researchers noted that money is only one ingredient for successful international engagement; just as important is a culture change led by the leadership that emphasizes the importance of international engagement at the fundamental science level.
Naval Research Laboratory (NRL)
As a working capital fund activity, NRL seeks to leverage the best available S&T regardless of where that opportunity exists. Thus, despite not having a written strategy for international S&T engagement, NRL has numerous collaborative international projects (approximately 200 projects that involve 27 different countries). At NRL, S&Es work closely with ONR-G and with the Navy International Programs Office (NIPO) to develop international S&T collaborations of significant benefit to the Naval Research Enterprise. In addition, many S&Es are involved in international activities through participation in NATO STO and TTCP technical panels.
NRL researchers indicated that there are not formal requirements or policies for sharing international S&T information within the laboratory,
across the Naval Research Enterprise, or with other components of the DRE. Instead, information sharing is ad hoc, based on S&Es personal interest, and mainly through researchers sharing of trip reports or conference proceedings with other S&Es they think might have interest in the specific topic. NRL management did not express interest in developing additional requirements for their S&Es to report or share information about international research or activities.
NRL researchers noted that the long wait times for foreign visitor approvals (or denials) have resulted in missed collaboration opportunities and that severe Internet restrictions have significantly hindered key communications between NRL S&Es and their international collaborators. Some NRL researchers also indicated that insufficient public release of some research results have limited their ability to build networks, both across laboratory units and with the wider global research community.
A wide range of mechanisms are used by each of the Service laboratories to engage and collaborate with the international research community and include conference attendance, scientist exchanges, bi- and multilateral S&T cooperation agreements, and S&E participation in multilateral S&T panels and working groups of NATO STO and TTCP. Each of the laboratories acknowledged that as technology advances accelerate and defense budgets become tighter, international engagement will become increasingly important.
Each of the Service laboratories emphasized the challenges of engaging internationally due to Service- and DoD-wide restrictions on conference travel and attendance.37 In many disciplines, conference papers are the top place for S&Es to present their work (as opposed to journal papers); if DoD researchers do not remain active participants in highly respected venues, they will not be viewed as “card carrying” members of their respective technical communities. These restrictions reduce S&Es’ ability to maintain awareness of important international technological developments within their own fields, and it is particularly harmful to the careers of early-career researchers, for whom international engagement is essential for initiating and sustaining long-term relationships. All these factors combined are damaging to the reputation of the Service laboratories and of their S&Es, which, in turn, hinders the laboratories’ abilities to recruit top postdocs.
Each of the laboratories also noted as barriers the lengthy process for securing project agreements and the challenges of communicating with international colleagues over secured networks. As one example, AFRL researchers indicated that for some rapidly advancing technical areas, there have been instances where the goals of the project or key personnel have shifted due to project agreement
37DoD makes no distinction between academic conferences and any other forms of trade shows, etc, which means that blanket denials of conferences are not subject to appeal.
delays. As another example, NRL researchers described communication barriers due to international colleagues’ inability to open DoD-certified emails; AFRL researchers addressed this concern by allowing its S&Es to toggle between Non-classified Internet Protocol (NIPR) and Defense Research and Engineering Network (DREN) on their desktop computers. There are also no effective mechanisms for sustained collaboration between defense researchers and visiting foreign nationals (providing long-term escorts is not a practical solution).
While the Service laboratories are thinking about new ways to do business in a global community, the study committee did not observe specific objectives, strategies, or metrics for their international engagement efforts. Rather, international engagement is embedded in the efforts of individual laboratory S&Es. Further, without proper support and appreciation of international activities from laboratory leadership, international engagement typically becomes a lower priority as S&E workload increases.
In-house DoD scientists and engineers are essential to transitioning fundamental technologies to military applications, acting as technical authorities through the life cycle of military systems and avoiding tech surprise by maintaining the technical capability to counter threats. To serve these roles, in-house researchers are expected to maintain knowledge of the state of the art, to maintain international visibility within their respective technical communities, to build productive collaborations regardless of where “the best” technical capabilities are being developed, and to ensure that insights from these global S&T engagement activities are effectively coordinated and leveraged within each of the Services’ S&T enterprises and across the DRE more broadly.
To maintain global S&T awareness, DoD researchers need access to a diversity of international S&T inputs—both through scientific literature (this includes English and non-English language publications) and through international researcher-to-researcher knowledge exchange. There are a number of opportunities for in-person research engagement, such as previously discussed technical conferences and professional meetings, workshops, hosting and visiting researchers, S&E exchanges, and participating in appropriate basic international research collaborations.
Relying on one of these methods alone cannot fully paint a picture of the global S&T landscape. For example, maintaining knowledge through literature is inadequate as there can be a one to two year lag between peer-review publication and current discovery. DoD should have an in-person presence at international S&T fora to establish for itself a reputation as a leading contributor to the international research community. In fact, DoD researchers noted that missing one year of engagement is damaging and missing two years is nearly irreparable and causes DoD researchers to lose opportunities to serve as technical panel members, reviewers, and coordinators at important scientific meetings.
By not taking an outward approach for engagement, internal defense research becomes insular and non-competitive, which increases the risk of tech surprise. As discussed in earlier sections, DoD policies that deprioritize or restrict scientific engagement opportunities also make it difficult for defense laboratories to recruit and retain top postdocs and young scientists (as early career scientists and engineers recognize that their careers will be very limited if they cannot engage with their international technical communities),38 as well as to retain leading senior researchers (who may be driven to academia or industry).
The inability of DoD’s S&E workforce to sufficiently maintain global awareness of militarily relevant technical developments hurts OSD decision making not only for strategic and globally informed S&T investments, but also for technology competitiveness and national security.
While the DoD works well with its defense science counterparts around the world, it faces unique challenges establishing relationships with foreign civilian science communities. Many civilian researchers, as well as policy makers, outside of the United States are unwilling or reluctant to engage in dialogues, let alone collaborate, on open-access basic or fundamental research with the U.S. defense science community. Some of these reasons are historical and others are the result of cultural differences and economic and national security concerns. In-country international programs and outreach efforts, such as those shared by the Services’ field offices in Europe and Asia, are excellent opportunities for the defense research enterprise to establish reputations in other countries and regions of the world as reliable collaborators and research colleagues in basic research.
The DoD S&T enterprise needs to be engaging and collaborating with the best researchers anywhere in the world, not only in all areas in which the DoD has basic research investments, but also those areas which the DoD has divested. It is important for leadership within and among the DoD components with international S&T responsibilities and interests to demonstrate that international S&T engagement is a priority.
Enterprise-wide S&T situational awareness begins with ensuring its S&E workforce maintains global awareness of S&T and is appropriately engaged with the international research community.
Successful implementation of the global engagement mechanisms summarized in Table1-1 requires an S&E workforce that is motivated, equipped, and enabled to do so. First, individuals across the DRE should know that they are expected to retain global situational awareness in their respective scientific do-
38Retrieved April 4, 2014 from http://www.federaltimes.com/article/20140401/MGMT03/304010005/Young-scientists-engineers-departing-DoD.
mains, and there should be clear advocacy and commitment from all levels of leadership for doing so. Second, individuals should be equipped with the necessary skills and opportunities to maintain global awareness. This includes having an appropriate understanding of a foreign collaborator’s culture, languages, and unique S&T strengths and gaps; opportunities for engagement include participation in conferences, professional meetings, S&E exchanges, and collaborative research projects. Third, DoD management within each of the Service S&T enterprises should then identify barriers to effective awareness and engagement and corresponding implementable solutions to alleviate them. The study committee observed gaps in each of the above three dimensions.
There is ample evidence that the U.S. share of the global S&T enterprise is shrinking. The DoD’s intent to maintain technological leadership in key areas is therefore dependent upon its ability to track related research worldwide. Further, in a budget-constrained environment, it is important for the DoD to be positioned to identify and leverage other relevant research advances as they emerge from the global S&T enterprise. These objectives require effective utilization of the full spectrum of engagement mechanisms summarized in Table 1-1. While the committee found evidence that every mechanism is being used somewhere in the DRE, it found no evidence that the local benefits gained are effectively leveraged across the DRE. While each Service has some unique S&T fields of interest, many fields are of cross-cutting interest to the DRE. Based on its discussions with various defense research components, the committee observed that information sharing within each Service, across the Services, and to OSD, is inadequate.
2.5.1 Coordination of International S&T Activities within the Services
Each of the Services has an expansive S&T workforce and includes S&Es at Service laboratories, warfare centers, universities (in the United States and overseas), UARCs, and FFRDCs. International engagement is critical for these researchers to build relationships with emerging, as well as eminent, researchers around the world and to maintain global awareness of emerging S&T developments within their fields. Such awareness is critical for DoD researchers to reside at the leading edge of their research fields, and increasingly, to avoid falling behind.
While bibliometric and analytic tools and researchers’ expertise and assessments of their fields are important, they cannot be substitutes for in-person mechanisms for S&T engagement. As discussed previously, in-person interactions are critical for building sustained, trusted research collaborations and for better understanding each country’s or region’s unique S&T strengths and gaps.
Each of the Services maintains an overseas presence through its field offices, and these offices utilize a variety of mechanisms for engaging with in-country and in-region S&Es and other S&T-affiliated organizations. However, there appears to be inconsistent and weak connectivity between the field offices and their corresponding offices of research located stateside. Further, information sharing of international S&T activities is typically ad hoc and personality driven. Effective reachback from the forward-deployed S&T offices to their respective headquarter activities is key to ensuring that their international S&T activities are providing value to DoD researchers back home and supporting the broader mission of the organization.
While tasked to maintain regional S&T awareness, the Service field offices are extremely staff and resource limited, and, therefore, must prioritize which researchers and research areas to engage. This can occur in three ways. First, program managers may get requests from their laboratory or home offices to engage with specific foreign researchers or in specifically targeted research topics. Discussions with S&Es at the S&T offices and laboratories, however, suggest that this occurs infrequently. This could be the result of a disconnect between defense S&T interests and priorities or insufficient information-sharing policies and infrastructure (e.g., that is inaccessible, not useful, or lacking push-and-pull functionality). A significant challenge is determining how to provide information in a useful form; many researchers at the Service laboratories expressed frustration in their ability to derive insight and value from technology reports and trip summaries.
Second, program managers may serendipitously learn about emerging foreign technology developments (e.g., by attending a scientific conference or university visits) or entrepreneurially seek out interactions with S&Es working in fields of potential interest to their home Service’s research enterprise. As discussed previously, DoD restrictions on travel and conference attendance have made the former difficult, if not impossible. The latter allows for very targeted engagement, but such a targeted approach for technology awareness can result in blinders that paint inaccurate or insufficient pictures of the research landscape. Said differently, one finds what one is looking for.
Third, program managers will award foreign researchers with small seed grants in the hopes of getting matching funds from headquarters (or the other Services’ field offices) or transitioning seed grant projects to larger programs being funded by headquarters. Program managers in many of the field offices cited their ability to procure matching funds and seed grant transition as metrics used by headquarters to gauge their success. While cost sharing is a valuable metric, it does not capture how well the field offices are engaging the global S&T community, building relationships, facilitating research collaborations, identifying emerging international S&T developments, or providing inputs for building an integrated picture of the global research landscape. The study committee did not observe any metrics that clearly identified intended outcomes and measures of success for any of these objectives.
For many program officers in headquarters, international engagement is an ancillary responsibility; thus, field office reports and inputs become a low priority. This not only fuels the disconnect between the field and home offices, but also sends a message that global engagement and international S&T cooperation is not important. Leadership within each Service needs to articulate the importance of its S&T workforce being aware of global research advances within their fields (and that publications are not sufficient) and that maintaining a seat at the global research table requires engagement and collaboration with other countries—both with S&T powerhouses that already reside at the leading edge and with those developing S&T capabilities for the future.
2.5.2 Coordination Between the Services and OSD
Each of the Service S&T enterprises maintain networks of international researchers and conducts assessments of emerging S&T developments around the world in numerous research fields. Synthesizing this information across the Services could provide significant input not only to advance the state of research across the DRE but also to inform senior-level OSD decision making with respect to S&T investments and international cooperation and security policies. Based on the committee’s observations, the myriad of international insights and information inputs from across the DRE do not currently appear to be collected and synthesized to provide this level of OSD insight.
The ASD(R&E) is responsible for providing S&T leadership throughout the department, including shaping strategic direction and strengthening research and engineering coordination. Successfully accomplishing this requires an integrated understanding of the global research landscape. Such an understanding cannot occur, however, if the numerous individuals and offices within each of the Services and throughout ASD(R&E) operate within their own fiefdoms with limited connectivity. One starting point for this coordination is the Research and Engineering Executive Committee (R&E EXCOM), the department’s leadership forum to strengthen cross-component coordination and to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of departmental R&E investments that cannot be sufficiently addressed by any single component. Members of the committee include the ASD(R&E), who serves as committee chair, the Army Acquisition Executive (currently the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology); the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisition; the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, and the Director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.39 The R&E EXCOM oversight structure is shown in Figure 2-5.
39Available at http://www.acq.osd.mil/chieftechnologist/mission/index.html and http://www.acq.osd.mil/chieftechnologist/excom.html. Last accessed on January 27, 2014.
FIGURE 2-5 R&E EXCOM oversight structure. SOURCE: Reliance 21. Operating Principles: Bringing Together the DoD Science and Technology Enterprise. Department of Defense. January 2014, p. 3.
Reliance 21 tasks the Communities of Interest with responsibility for developing “strategic plans and roadmaps with a 10 year horizon that capture technical goals and mission impact.” Further, COIs are expected to “coordinate international S&T engagement for their technical area, taking Components strategic objectives into account.”40 Opportunities may exist for strengthening linkages between the Reliance 21 framework and the Service S&T components with international activities and inputs.
In October 2011, the committee was briefed by ASD(R&E) on its plans to develop a new international S&T engagement strategy to better leverage global R&D (replacing the 2005 version cited earlier). Several guiding principles of particular relevance to the study’s charge were shared with the committee—for example, to support the Components’ (Services’) efforts in any country where needed at the basic research level, including federated access to research activities; integrate information from OSD and the Components to provide comparative analyses that inform DoD investments and strategic guidance; and ensure that international research activities protect the security of critical U.S. technologies while enhancing access to global developments in basic and applied research.
These principles are consistent with previous chapter text and highlight the need, and the opportunity that exists, for international research cooperation and
40Ibid, p. 6.
global S&T engagement. They also reinforce the importance of the Services’ international S&T missions, including their overseas presence and activities (e.g., maintaining an awareness of in-country and regional S&T developments and maintaining critical relationships with longstanding and prospective overseas S&T collaborators). Thus, the Services are well positioned to provide valuable input into strategic S&T decision making by OSD. While the anticipated strategy appears to echo this point, the Committee did not have available the updated plan and cannot comment on the adequacy of the approach taken. Fully leveraging the Services’ international S&T activities, investments, and knowledge requires from OSD a coordinated strategic approach to global S&T engagement—not only between the Services and OSD, but also between each of the Services.
DoD and its Services have in place many mechanisms intended to improve awareness of global advances in science and technology, but existing mechanisms are not well integrated; barriers and impediments to successful implementation exist; and outcomes are not systematically measured to assess effectiveness.
Each of the Services currently has a variety of mechanisms in place for global S&T awareness and engagement—collectively spanning the entire array of mechanisms set forth in Table 1-1. Individual mechanisms range from those that do not require in-person interaction or sharing of information and to those that require collaboration between researchers. At the passive end of the spectrum, the Service field offices conduct literature reviews and assessments of technical fields using traditional measures such as bibliometrics. Higher levels of in-person engagement include informal dialogues at scientific conferences, workshops, university and other S&T-related site visits, and seminars. At the other end of the spectrum are government-to-government agreements for sharing data and information and S&E personnel exchange, collaborative research (with research jointly conducted and researchers funded by their respective countries), and funding for foreign, non-U.S. researchers by the Services (i.e., seed grants). Researchers within each of the Service S&T enterprises (e.g., researchers at each of the Services’ laboratories) also have international activities and collaborations. While, collectively, these international activities and collaborative activities enhance the Services’ overall awareness of, as well as participation in, the global research landscape, opportunities exist to more effectively coordinate, integrate, and leverage international efforts across the DRE. Discussions with program managers, S&Es, and leadership within various components of the Services (both in the United States and overseas) and at ASD(R&E) suggest that international activities, programs, and collaborations are typically ad hoc and bottom-up (i.e., driven by opportunistic program managers or by enthusiastic non-U.S. researchers).
Coordination across the colocated Service field offices can occur through a number of mechanisms (e.g., cohosting defense staff and S&E personnel exchanges and seminars, informal dialogues between program managers in different Services, and cofunding seed grants to non-U.S. researchers overseas). While these mechanisms do provide logistics and minimal cost-sharing support, they do not sufficiently enable effective cross-Service knowledge exchange among field office program managers. In the United States, sharing41 of international S&T activities, programs, and knowledge between each of the Service’s S&T offices and laboratories also appears to be insufficient and without articulated strategic goals, outcomes, or metrics.
Within each of the Services, strategies for coordinating and leveraging Service-wide international S&T investments and knowledge are not clearly articulated. Noticeably absent are clear reporting protocols between the Service field offices and headquarter offices that address questions such as the following:
- What are, if any, the S&T priorities for international reporting?
- Is reporting focused on engagement, collaboration, or technology assessments?
- How often and in which format should reporting occur?
- Who should receive field S&T assessments?
- What are metrics for successful reporting?
Discussions with researchers at the Service laboratories indicate that DoD’s S&Es recognize the critical importance of not only keeping aware of international research advances within their fields but also maintaining relationships with the international research community. Tightened DoD restrictions on conference travel and attendance and security protocols that unnecessarily delay or prevent S&E discussions, visitations, and collaborations are significant barriers for defense engagement of the international research community. Poor connectivity between laboratory researchers and the Services’ international S&T offices compounds these challenges and also leads to missed opportunities for the field offices to provide DoD researchers in the United States with insight into global technology developments.
Even if the composite Service S&T enterprise had a coordinated and integrated mechanism for providing cohesive inputs about the global S&T landscape, it is not clear how that information would be synthesized and used as constructive input for OSD-level S&T decision making. In fact, there does not currently appear to be significant connectivity between ASD(R&E) and the international components of the DRE, other than ASD(R&E) liaisons to NATO
41Each Service has a data repository used by its international organization, with varying levels of access. For example, the ONR-G knowledge management system is only accessible by ONR personnel, while the Army database resides on AKO (Army Knowledge Online) and is accessible to anyone with a CAC card.
STO, TTCP, and other similar defense S&T fora. While S&T engagement with these particular countries’ defense enterprises, which are typically longstanding allies and research collaborators with the United States, are valuable, they do not capture the full spectrum of S&T developments occurring around the world. Thus, the international networks (cultivated and sustained through bottom-up interactions among individual researchers) of DoD’s S&E workforce, as well as S&T knowledge among the Services international S&T offices in the United States and overseas, present a valuable opportunity for enhancing DoD-wide global technology awareness. Current reachback from the Services’ S&T components to ASD(R&E) is complicated by the number, and overlapping responsibilities, of entities within ASD(R&E) that have international roles and responsibilities, including the Office of Technical Intelligence, the Office of Basic Research, the Office of International Cooperation, DARPA, and liaisons to NATO STO and TTCP
Each of the Service S&T field offices also needs to improve coordination and engagement with DoD’s defense attachés posted to U.S. embassies. In each of the countries visited by the committee subgroup, there was limited connectivity and exchange of information between posted defense attachés and the Service field offices. Defense attachés typically have responsibilities for international agreements, treaties, foreign military sales, security training and demonstrations, and managing bilateral and regional defense security relationships, but not necessarily for engaging the in-country or in-region basic research communities (e.g., universities, research institutes, research funding agencies). While their mission is far removed from that of the S&T field offices, for many prospective non-U.S. researchers with interest in defense research collaboration, the embassies’ defense science attachés or equivalents are the first point of contact.
Currently, there are a number of barriers and impediments that prevent the DoD from taking full advantage of the opportunities brought about by the globalization of science and technology. For successful improvement of DoD-wide coordination of international activities and knowledge, as well as awareness of global S&T developments, DoD needs to address the following challenges described below.
Each of the Services lack consistent and transparent international S&T knowledge networks both within their own S&T enterprises and across each of the Services. In addition, current DoD approaches for global S&T awareness and engagement do not have clearly articulated objectives, implementation plans to address identified challenges, and metrics for successful outcomes. There are also many missed opportunities for the Services international S&T offices in the United States and overseas to more effectively capture and share information about global S&T. While Service field office staff complete trip and conference reports, the committee heard from researchers in many areas of the DRE that such information is not particularly useful, either because the information is not easily accessible/searchable or because the information does not provide the type of insight researchers want.
Field office staff also share information on an ad hoc basis with program managers at headquarter offices or directly with researchers at DoD laboratories based on their professional scientific networks (e.g., knowing who key players are in particular fields) or past work experience (e.g., formerly working as a program manager at headquarter offices). This mechanism, however, is not sustainable, as program managers rotate frequently and often have limited S&T expertise. Moreover, if program managers are scouting within their own fields, the field office technology scouting missions may run the risk of becoming either too broad or too narrow, thereby missing critical S&T developments. Thus, it would be beneficial for the field offices to establish staffing strategies that consider unique qualifications for foreign posts (e.g., language fluency and cultural awareness) and also balance the needs for “generalists” or “subject matter experts” with specific mission objectives. This is an important aspect of equipping DoD’s S&E workforce to more effectively maintain global situational awareness.
DoD has many entities with responsibilities and interests in global S&T engagement and awareness, including S&Es at defense laboratories and research centers, program managers and other S&T personnel within the Services’ offices of research in the United States and overseas, defense liaisons to international S&T fora such as TTCP and NATO STO, and ASD(R&E) S&T policy and decision makers.
Each of these entities has their own activities for maintaining international S&T awareness and for collaborating, but these activities are not coordinated and valuable S&T knowledge and insight is not aggregated or shared in a form that provides integrated awareness within and between the Service S&T enterprises, and to ASD(R&E). In addition, defense S&Es are often subjected to security provisions that are more appropriate for later stages of development, provisions that hamper their ability to learn from the rest of the world and to develop necessary collaborations.
Given shrinking budgets for international travel and difficulties funding overseas research collaborations, the Services’ field offices have a unique opportunity to provide on-the-ground engagement with non-U.S. research communities, as well as to serve as DoD representatives for developing trusted and mutually beneficial collaborative relationships. However, effective reachback mechanisms between field offices and their respective headquarter activities do not exist, which results in missed opportunities to provide value to defense researchers back home and to support the broader DoD mission. While there is significant potential for the defense research enterprise to gain awareness of and leverage global S&T, DoD needs a strategy composed of an integrated suite of approaches that are coordinated both horizontally across the Services and vertically to ASD(R&E).