Chapter V. Basic Research
Army Science and Technology Master Plan (ASTMP 1997)


B. Strategy

The overarching strategy for fostering these future capabilities is portrayed in Figure V-1. Current Army modernization benefits from past investments in basic research. In the mid-term, products are expected from programs such as the Federated Laboratories that will benefit Force XXI and Army Vision 2010. In the long term, products of investments in key Strategic Research Objectives (SROs) (see below) and other basic research projects will influence the capabilities available to the Army After Next. Underpinning all of these programs are investments in each of the basic research areas, as defined in the Department of Defense Basic Research Plan (BRP).

Figure V-1. Army Basic Research Strategy

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The fundamental approach is to conduct focused research to develop and tailor knowledge and technologies to address Army needs. This includes both evolutionary research that advances the state-of-the-art and revolutionary concepts that provide the basis for breakthrough capabilities. At the heart of the program is a focus on conducting superior quality research across the spectrum of relevant technical disciplines. Wherever possible the Army leverages the investments of other Services and Agencies (e.g., DARPA). The strategy is based on making investments in Army-focused research to continue the evolutionary progress in key technical areas, and on tailoring unexpected innovations to Army applications, to meet emerging threats or to enhance future capabilities.

The Army investment in basic research is focused within the technical areas identified in the BRP. Within these areas, the investment is focused on Army-related issues, such as rotorcraft aerodynamics in the area of mechanics, and electrochemistry for high power density, compact power sources in the chemistry arena. The investment varies significantly across the technical areas, consistent with a conscious management strategy that takes into account several factors:

Under the DoD Basic Research Plan, the Services have also identified six Strategic Research Objectives (SROs). These are high profile, long-range scientific areas of strong military relevance and high potential payoff. The current list of SROs includes:

Although the relative investment in the SROs is small, the benefits are expected to be substantial. Each of these areas supports critical technologies of interest to the future Army.

The remainder of this chapter describes the extramural and intramural program components that contribute to the science base, followed by a survey of scientific research that is integrated across Army laboratories and centers and universities. Figure V-2 illustrates the flow of science through the Science and Technology continuum. Within this continuum there is constant feedback among the activities shown.

Fig V-2. The flow of Science Through the Army S&T Continuum.

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