Technology Development is the application of specific scientific methods in order to accomplish a particular Department of Defense (DOD) or commercial, military technology goals. In the Acquisition Process, the Technology Maturation & Risk Reduction phase develops and implement new technologies that satisfy requirements, minimize risks, verify designs, verify cost estimates, and refine capabilities. In this process, risks are assessed based on known outcomes of prior research and technology trials.
Although technology development involves a number of steps, the primary goal is to build a system that can reliably deliver anticipated results without posing unacceptable risks. The DoD and its components must be able to operate together and jointly sustain a technology-based project, which includes the testing, integration, certification, and deployment of new technologies. These requirements must also be able to be implemented by other departments and allied services.
Rapid technology change occurs in many fields, requiring rapid implementation, evaluation, and feedback to determine whether new technologies are successful. Rapid technology development can cause unexpected consequences, such as delays, cost overruns, or failure. There are four primary sources through which the United States military implements technology: direct acquisition, indirect acquisition, technology transfer and partner engagements. Each of these has different perspectives on risk and the ability of the United States to adjust to changing conditions. Each also requires a different method for technology transfer, developing a unified picture across the different disciplines.
Although the United States does not spend as much money as other countries on technology development, it does invest in its technological superiority. To address some of its space, land, and sea capabilities, the Department of Defense is conducting tests to develop new technologies. The space program is focused on space exploration and the development of long-range unmanned aerial vehicles. The land-based programs include cyberwarfare, GPS/Global Positioning System technology, and the Internet through cyberworm.
A key part of the U.S. military’s technology development is the Information Assurance Program (IAAP), which verifies that the technology is certified and safe to use. IAAP research is examining cyber vulnerabilities of U.S. military and commercial computer networks. Another branch of military technology development is Improving Technology for the fielded systems. This focuses on improving the combat effectiveness and reliability of U.S. armed forces through the incorporation of technology. Areas of focus include: weapons systems, research and technology development, electronic warfare, and computer network strategies and techniques.
Rapid technology development requires a steady stream of technologies to keep pace with emerging threats and an understanding of the associated risks. Rapid innovations in technology are a vital component of American military power projection. It provides the basis for a healthy and secure society.