Defense Research and Engineering

The Defense Department science and technology program is organized to support the missions described in the National Security Strategy of Engagement and Enlargement. It is responsive to the warfighting requirements articulated by the Joint Chiefs of Staff as well as to the mission requirements of the military departments. The Director of Defense Research and Engineering is responsible for the direction, overall quality, and content of the Department of Defense science and technology program.

Basic Research Fields of Inquiry

Atmospheric and Space Science

Biological and Medical Sciences

Cognitive and Neural Sciences

Computer Sciences

Materials Science


Ocean Sciences

Terrestrial ScPhysics

Terrestrial Sciences

The Department of Defense S&T program is organized into three categories: basic research, exploratory development, and advanced technology development. Basic research is the element of the S&T program that seeks to increase knowledge and understanding of science. It is the foundation on which future technological superiority is based. Twelve fields of inquiry, listed in the box at top right, compose the Defense Department's basic research program. The two other components, exploratory development and advanced technology development, make up the Defense technology program. This program is centered around the 19 technology areas listed in the box at lower right. The exploratory development program provides proof-of-concept experiments and evaluations built around models and laboratory experiments, while the advanced technology development program evaluates the effectiveness of technological advances in providing required military capabilities. In total, the three components that make up the program are highly interrelated, as sharp distinctions between research and development phases no longer apply.

Technology Areas for Exploratory
Development and Advanced

Aerospace Propulsion and Power

Air Vehicles and Space Vehicles

Biomedical Applicationss

Chemical and Biological Defense

Individual Survivability and Sustainability

Command, Control, and Communications

Conventional Weaponsre


Electronic Warfare and Directed Energy Weapons

Environmental Quality and Civil Engineering

Manufacturing Science and Technology

Manpower, Personnel, and Training

Modeling and Simulationnd Structures

Surface/Under Surface VSensors and Ground Vehicles

Surface/Under Surface Vehicles and Ground Vehicles

The defense science and technology program is planned and conducted by the military services and Defense agencies. The Departments of the Army, Navy, and Air Force train and equip the military forces and use the S&T program to provide warfighting options for their service components. The defense agencies are responsible for specified cross-service aspects of the overall program and execute designated programs in support of national security objectives. The Advanced Research Projects Agency is charged with seeking breakthrough technology and with investing in technologies that are referred to as "dual use" because they have both defense and commercial applications. The Director of Defense Research and Engineering, in collaboration with the military departments and other Defense agencies, prepares the Defense Science and Technology Strategy and a technology plan which describes the focus and content of the overall Defense technology effort, including goals, objectives, and schedules.

Priorities of the Department of Defense S&T Program

Information technology, sensors, and modeling and simulation are high priority S&T programs in the Department of Defense. Information technology and sensors have the potential to dramatically improve all aspects of future military capabilities, while modeling and simulation have already made major contributions to training, readiness, weapons design, and acquisition management. Together, these technologies can significantly reduce combat losses in lives and equipment.

Counterproliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction

In early 1995 the Counterproliferation Program Review Committee, chaired by the Secretary of Defense and composed of the Secretary of Energy (as Vice Chair), the Director of Central Intelligence, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, conducted a comprehensive assessment of U.S. activities related to countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. As a result of this assessment, the Secretary of Defense has taken measures to significantly strengthen Department of Defense science and technology efforts in counterproliferation to address shortfalls in U.S. operational capability.

Counterproliferation spans the spectrum of diplomatic activities and military operations. As a Department of Defense mission, it includes support of proliferation prevention and intelligence activities; deterring the use of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons; defending against such weapons and their effects; and maintaining a robust ability to find and destroy delivery forces and infrastructure elements with minimum collateral effects, should this become necessary.

In 1995, Congress provided $60 million to "jump-start" the counterproliferation program within the Department of Defense, and the Administration has requested $108 million for 1996. These funds are being used to accelerate development and deployment of essential military counterproliferation technologies and capabilities and to leverage existing Department of Defense investments relating to countering proliferation. The Defense Department has placed increased emphasis on detection technology, with a goal of accelerating by six years the deployment of biological and chemical agent remote detection and characterization systems. In addition, it is accelerating development of a new generation of hard target defeat and collateral effects prediction and mitigation capabilities, with the goal of demonstrating them within the next two years. The Department of Defense is also accelerating important proliferation prevention efforts such as initial 1996 fielding of enhanced capabilities to track nuclear, biological, and chemical related foreign shipments.

The Administration's continuing efforts in counterproliferation will focus on the identification and development of the most promising technologies for the detection and characterization of proliferation threats and for developing and providing capabilities to counter the spread of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons; their infrastructure; and associated delivery systems.