Defense Releases Science, Technology Strategy 2023

According to the document and a senior official, the 2022 National Defense Strategy’s latest strategy document, the National Defense Science and Technology Strategy, focuses on the Defense Department’s technology priorities and the future of research and engineering.

The Defense Department “must be more proactive with its engagements with the private sector to make the right investments to capitalize on emerging technologies, as well as to preempt adversary attempts to do the same by protecting critical and emerging technologies early in the development cycle,” according to the strategy.

Focus on the common mission, generate and field capabilities quickly, and lay the groundwork for research and development are the strategy’s three goals.

The Department of Defense Issues Its Science and Technology Strategy

Dr. Nina Kollars, advisor to the undersecretary of defense for research and engineering, told reporters that the first line of effort will “focus on the joint mission by investing in information systems and establishing processes for rigorous threat informed analysis.”

She noted that the best data and data systems help the government make science and technology investments.

“A more vibrant defense innovation ecosystem, accelerating the transition of new technology to the field in scalable ways,” she added, is the department’s second goal.

“Third, the department will ensure the foundations for research and science by continuing and expanding our efforts to recruit, retain, and cultivate talent, revitalize our physical infrastructure, upgrade our digital infrastructure, and nurture stronger collaboration across all strategic stakeholders,” she said.

She said the approach is supposed to communicate that this is where we will continue to focus. “Rigorous analysis, modeling, and simulation are crucial to the department right now.

All of those components will help us choose budgetary investments, which will make prototyping, experimenting, and transitioning easier.

The strategy calls for the department to establish “a methodological process” to prioritize investments in capabilities with the greatest potential to meet warfighter needs; “amplify and accelerate” capacity to turn joint warfighting concepts into capabilities; foster a “more vibrant ecosystem” to grow research partnerships; revise technology protection protocols; and increase partnerships with traditional and non-traditional partners.

The strategy states that the undersecretaries of defense for research and engineering and acquisition and sustainment will collaborate “to develop new processes, procedures and forums to drive close collaboration with the military services’ and OSD acquisition and sustainment communities to spearhead rapid fielding of capabilities at speed and scale.”

Kollars said the strategy statement concentrates on ambitions and direction, while the implementation plan, due to Congress within 90 days, will show how the department will achieve strategic objectives. The implementation strategy will likely be classified.

The strategy’s quick investment in new technologies and establishment of new offices and vehicles to hasten system development and deployment are not new. That raises issues about the department’s previous lessons and future strategies.

“I suspect those of us who’ve been in this space know that high-level guidance often has to be applied in very specific and incremental ways,” Kollars added.

Defense Innovation Unit’s adaptation to new threats.

She said the Defense Innovation Unit started as an experiment with great thinking leaders and has grown to include the National Security Innovation Network. We constantly adapt to the challenge.

Kollars observed that the plan emphasizes greater cooperation and assuming more risk with partners and friends.

“How we share with our partners and allies can be tense,” she remarked. “But there are a number of initiatives going on inside the Department of Defense that are aimed at getting at new policy solutions to making sure that our technology can be interoperable and sharing with our partners and allies while minimizing accidental technology transfer.”

Kollars said the policy is funded by the fiscal year 2024 budget request and does not require extra powers. “We will let the defense planning process make additional adjustments.”

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