Chapter VII. Technology Transfer
Army Science and Technology Master Plan (ASTMP 1997)


A. Army Technology Transfer--An Overview

The Army technology transfer program works in synergy with our national industrial infrastructure to strengthen both military and economic security. This military-commercial synergy has always been important, but as military resources decrease with the end of the Cold War and as commercial competition replaces military competition, it becomes more and more critical.

Whereas the Army once sustained a technology and production base that was focused on military needs and isolated by culture and rules from the civilian commercial world, we are no longer able to afford this luxury. In fact, in some technical areas ending this isolation will enable the Army to exploit commercial technology that is more advanced than its military counterpart.

But as we seek to meet our military needs from commercial sources, it becomes important to ensure that U.S. industry leads the world. Furthermore, the technology developed to meet military needs helps strengthen our international commercial competitiveness and contributes to economic security.

In the 1980s, formal technology transfer programs were initiated to apply "spin-off" from military technology to benefit the civilian economy and thus enhance national competitiveness.Within DoD, such programs were seen as, at best, necessary overhead functions. But with the decline of defense funding, changes in the nature of the military threat, and an increase in the rate of the change in commercial technology, DoD's emphasis has evolved to include "dual-use" and "spin-on" technology. The potential to bolster civil and military strength through a common production base is being recognized in DoD and in the larger national community. As cited in the quotations at the beginning of this chapter, technology transfer is now recognized as essential to DoD's mission. The Army Technology Transfer Program creates an environment that both fosters and facilitates the transfer of technology between military and civilian applications, thereby contributing to both our military needs and our economic competitiveness.

This chapter provides a description of the various components of the Army Technology Transfer Program. This program utilizes an exceptionally wide range of different management approaches, legal mechanisms, and types of partners.