Technology Reinvestment Project
The mission of the Technology Reinvestment Project (TRP) is to increase the Department of Defense's access to affordable, leading-edge technology by leveraging commercial know-how, investments, and markets for military use. Advanced technology remains the linchpin of U.S. military superiority even as tight defense budgets shrink the specialized defense supplier base. Two forces are shaping the future of defense technology. First, much of the best emerging technology is now in the commercial sector. Second, as the cost of weapons becomes more crucial, commercial practices are the key to affordable defense. TRP is a forward-looking response to these new realities.
The primary focus of this project, led by the Pentagon's Advanced Research Projects Agency, is the development of dual-use technologies. Every TRP development project is selected on the basis of its technical merit and its defense relevance. TRP's ends are affordable, leading edge defense technology; leveraging commercial technology is its means. Two strategies, depending largely on the state of the military technology, are used by TRP:
Leveraging emerging commercial technology. Getting access to emerging commercial technology by using the commercial world's drive and ability to quickly develop and apply new technology. This begins by leveraging commercial know-how and investments and eventually drives markets to lower the price.
Embedding defense technology. Finding a new market for existing defense technologies that have nondefense uses, principally to lower the price. This strategy seeks commercial efficiencies in processing and production and strives to take advantage of commercial market size. It also sustains technologies that might otherwise disappear due to insufficient demand from the Department of Defense alone.
Through two competitions, TRP has funded dual-use technology effort in areas such as military mobility; battlefield casualty treatment; command, control, communications, and computers; battlefield sensors; mechanical systems; and electronics manufacturing.
In addition to this focus on technology development, TRP has also funded projects of longer term benefit to the Department of Defense. These include technology deployment; efforts to ensure that small manufacturers have the technology to remain viable for future Department of Defense acquisitions; and manufacturing education and training as well as efforts to improve undergraduate manufacturing curriculums and retrain defense workers. TRP also conducts a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program linked to its technology development goals. Future competitions are expected to concentrate exclusively on technology development with SBIR.
International cooperation in defense technology is an important factor in advancing our national security and foreign policy goals. International technology cooperation can enhance mutual defense capabilities through standardization and interoperability with the forces of friendly and allied countries. It can spread the burden of financing development, promote U.S. access to foreign technologies and innovations; and deepen mutual understanding. International cooperation is also a large and indispensable element of our economic security, offering global market opportunities to U.S. industry. Through broad-based international programs undertaken by the private and public sectors we seek to take advantage of the best the world has to offer.
Fundamentally, international cooperation in defense-related technology areas is conducted among private-sector companies. Mechanisms for cooperation include research and development joint ventures; contractor teaming arrangements; prime/subcontractor relationships; coproduction and technical assistance agreements; and direct sales and purchases. At the basic research level, the scientific community-both public and private-also engages in many forms of international cooperation and collaboration, including laboratory-to-laboratory projects; exchange programs; university fellowships and visiting professorships; field research; networking; and participation in a wide range of international forums for the exchange of scientific knowledge.
Despite its many benefits, however, international cooperation in defense technology also presents risks. This Administration is committed to striking a balance between sharing our technology and protecting it so that the benefits continue to outweigh these risks. For the many cooperative activities conducted under the auspices of government-to-government agreements, the agreements themselves explicitly address national security and industrial base concerns, such as technology transfer and retransfer rules, data rights, and procedures for the handling of classified information. For private-sector ventures involving munitions, certain dual-use goods, and technical data, export licensing regulations are used to protect our national security interests. To preserve the competitive posture of American manufacturers in an environment in which other nations are often inclined to exercise less stringent controls on technology transfer, we seek multilateral export control approaches where possible.
There are transactions in three areas of global trade and technology transfer that are occurring with increasing frequency and that have the potential for broad national security or economic impact. Sales and contracts with foreign buyers imposing conditions leading to technology transfer, joint ventures with foreign partners involving technology sharing and next-generation development, and foreign investments in U.S. industry that create technology transfer opportunities may raise either economic or national security concerns that can temper the benefit we perceive as a nation.
We will continue to encourage international cooperation in defense technology because the payoff can be great. But we will also continue to expect our international partners to provide protections and assurances comparable to our own in sensitive areas. And we will continue to strike a judicious balance between risks and benefits to ensure that all our international science and technology cooperation activities make positive contributions to our national security and economic well-being.