News 1998 Army Science and Technology Master Plan

Technology Transfer

Technology transfer covers all interactions with external organizations, whether transferring technology into or out of the S&T program. It should be distinguished from technology transition, which deals with the maturing of technology within the S&T program and transitioning it to development (6.4 or 6.5 programs). The Army continuously monitors new commercial developments looking for military applications. This spin–on of technology is of growing importance to the Army S&T program—not only from the domestic R&D programs but also from development overseas (see Volume II, Annex E). Conversely, where military R&D is in the lead (e.g., rotorcraft, night vision, propulsion), technology transfer to commercial uses is actively pursued.

Since Army S&T makes up less than 1 percent of the total national investment in R&D, the Army leverages R&D from industry, universities, other government organizations, and foreign sources. Industry independent research and development (IR&D) activities are planned, performed, and funded by companies in order to maintain or improve their technical competence or to develop new or improved products. Contractors may be reimbursed up to 100 percent of their IR&D expenditures if they are part of the overhead cost to the government. Industry IR&D efforts amount to more than $2 billion annually.

To effectively exploit the overall industrial base, the Army is also an aggressive partner in the development of dual–use technologies. By investing in dual–use technology, the Army can exploit the efficiencies generated through the use of common production lines for commercial and military products, reap the reduced costs resulting from larger scale production runs, and leverage industry’s willingness to invest in commercially viable technologies. The Army targets dual–use projects in areas such as automotive, aviation, medical, construction engineering, environmental, pollution abatement/control, telecommunications, sensors, and individual soldier technology. Beginning in FY99, the Army will manage the Dual–Use Applications Program (DUAP) S&T initiative devolved by Congress from DoD. This initiative provides incentive funding to support dual–use technology projects. These funds are matched by lab/center funds, and the total of these two is matched by the industry partner(s). DUAP projects therefore involve a mix of Army (25 percent), DUAP (25 percent), and industry (50 percent) funding, using cooperative agreements or other transactions for their execution. The cost sharing by industry demonstrates its commitment to exploit the resulting technology for military as well as commercial applications.

Technology transfer is also made easier by the growing DoD adoption of commercial products, practices, and processes, and by the DoD Project Reliance.

Cooperative Research and Development Agreements

It is Army policy to actively market technology that can benefit the public and private sectors and to respond quickly to requests for technical assistance. The mechanisms for accomplishing this are Cooperative R&D Agreements (CRDAs), the Construction Productivity Advancement Research (CPAR) program, Patent License Agreements (PLAs), and technical outreach programs. The cumulative Army totals from FY89 to FY98 are 1,083 CRDAs, including CPAR agreements, and 87 PLAs. The Army has more cooperative agreements than all the rest of DoD combined (see Chapter VII).

National Automotive Center

Recognizing the many dual–use benefits to be exchanged among industry, academia, and government, the Army established the National Automotive Center (NAC) in 1993 (Figure I–16). The NAC is located at the U.S. Army Tank–Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center, Warren, Michigan, and serves to facilitate the transfer of dual–use automotive technologies from the commercial sector to the military and vice versa.

Figure I-16. Dual-Use Technology
Figure I-16. Dual-Use Technology

National Rotorcraft Technology Center

The National Rotorcraft Technology Center (NRTC), established in 1996, is a catalyst for facilitating collaborative rotorcraft research and development among the DoD (Army and Navy), NASA, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), industry, and academia. It serves as the means to develop and implement cooperatively a rotorcraft technology plan and national strategy that can effectively address both civil and military rotorcraft needs. The industry takes a proactive role in defining and performing the technology tasks to be undertaken through the Rotorcraft Industry Technology Association (RITA), a nonprofit corporation. The technology developed is shared among RITA members. The RITA program, with its near–term focus, is complemented by and continuously coordinated with the Rotorcraft Center of Excellence Program (performed by academia), which has a long–term focus.

University Research Centers

Army policy is to foster basic research objectives by leveraging research programs in academic institutions. To accomplish this the Army sponsors research through the Army Center of Excellence Program and through the DoD University Research Initiative. Through these programs the Army promotes active research participation with more than 20 American universities (Chapters V and VII).

Small Business Innovation Research

The Army has revised and strengthened the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program to better leverage and support this innovative, entrepreneurial sector of our economy. The SBIR process (for companies with fewer than 500 employees) is as follows:

Three–phase program

Phase I—Technical feasibility (6 months, $100,000 maximum)
Phase II—R&D effort (2 years, $750,000 maximum)
Phase III—Commercialization (no SBIR funds used)

Department of the Army (DA) review/selection process

$90–$100 million/year

Gap between Phase I and Phase II efforts reduced by SBIR evaluation board; time reduced since 1994 for Phase I—4 months versus 7–8 months; Phase II—6 months versus 8–12 months. Efforts are under way to further reduce the gap between Phase I and Phase II.

Many Army S&T programs are conducted jointly or in coordination with the Air Force, the Navy, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and other defense agencies assisted by Project Reliance. Other government agencies leveraged by the Army include NASA and the Department of Energy (DOE) National Laboratories.

Outside the United States, the Army seeks potential opportunities to increase the effectiveness of technology development through the sharing of research, development, test and evaluation (RDT&E) resources with NATO and major non–NATO allies. One example is the Future Scout and Cavalry System (FSCS) being developed jointly by the United States and the United Kingdom. These joint and interagency programs are discussed in Chapter VII and Annex E.

Click here to go to next page of document