News 1998 Army Science and Technology Master Plan


1. Opportunity Assessment Overview

This annex represents the latest step in an evolutionary process to identify, refine, and focus efforts to implement our international cooperative strategy. The process brings together a variety of technology and intelligence assessments to identify broad areas where the capabilities and trends in the state of the art among potential partners offer significant promise for contributing to U.S. Army objectives. Within these broad areas, there are designated technology area points of contact (POCs) for Volume I, Chapter IV, and highlighted specific needs to consider in the process of identifying existing or near–term pending agreements. The results of the process have been refined through several iterations of the ASTMP and this annex. The resulting collection of capabilities and mid–term opportunities described in the following subsections and summarized in Volume I, Chapter IV, illustrate the breadth and diversity of international cooperative opportunities for deployable advances within the next 2–6 years.

Our European allies, notably the United Kingdom, France, and Germany, are technologically advanced and we have longstanding exchange programs with them in most areas of military technology. There are niches of particular excellence and strong European community cooperative programs in information systems technology, semiconductor manufacture, materials, and manufacturing science and technology (S&T) that should increase the capabilities of our allies. Except for specific niches of excellence, these capabilities are more likely to parallel those of the United States and provide complementary opportunities as opposed to revolutionary breakthroughs. However, cooperation has other objectives and benefits in terms of effective cost and risk sharing and improved interoperability. Cooperative programs with countries having current excellence and an upward trend in development offer sound prospects for contributing to these objectives. Future interoperability objectives for coalition forces stress the ability to exchange information across allied forces seamlessly to support preemptive planning and mission rehearsal, integrated force management, and effective employment of precision forces. This, in turn, will provide an impetus for international development of standards and models to support battlespace digitization and Army Digitization Office objectives.

In a few instances, most notably within the FSU, the opportunities identified may prove somewhat perishable as technologies advance and economic conditions erode the base of support for research. Such time–sensitive opportunities may be found in piezoelectric crystal growth, certain aspects of gas turbine engines and ramjet propulsion, and pulsed power. Other areas of strong capability, less time–sensitive, may be found in mathematical science where Russia and the other countries of the FSU have been traditionally strong.

Japan offers the widest range of technological capabilities. The Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) oversees and coordinates a wide range of R&D in electronics, structural materials including ceramics, and manufacturing S&T. Applications of these technologies to military uses are not widely advertised, but there is clear evidence of growing capability and activity in this direction. The Army has initiated several programs with Japan, for example, in ramjet propulsion and in applications of fuzzy logic to helicopter flight control. The Japanese technological capabilities offer numerous other opportunities. However, indications are that patience and a concerted long–term commitment are necessary prerequisites to successful negotiation of cooperative agreements with Japan.

Those countries that we think of as traditionally strong in technology are rapidly being joined by other countries as global dissemination and internationalization of high–technology industries increases. Countries such as Israel and Korea have growing capabilities in a wide range of military–industrial technologies, including microelectronics and electronic systems, aerospace, ground vehicles, and sensors (primarily Israel) that already offer selected cooperative opportunities. India has a broad base of expertise for software development capable of supporting advances in a number of technology areas. Singapore, under the auspices of the National University, has launched a strong and diversified world–class program in biotechnology. Malaysia and Indonesia (in large part based on technology transfer from European aerospace firms), are developing a helicopter and small air transport design and manufacturing base. In the future, other niches of capability, backed by solid basic industrial infrastructures, are likely to develop in these and other countries, particularly in biotechnology and environmental sciences, which are becoming pervasive worldwide areas of R&D.

The following subsections provide a brief overview of the international state–of–the–art and key technological capabilities that have the potential to contribute to objectives and milestones identified in each of the 19 areas of technology addressed in Volume I, Chapter IV. Within each technology, we also identify one or more near–term opportunities to address specific needs. Each specific opportunity includes a brief description and justification highlighting potential benefits of the international effort envisioned. Benefits are defined in terms of the potential to address specific ASTMP or DoD technology milestones and objectives. Appropriate Army Material Command (AMC) and international POCs or project officers for each of the technologies and agreements cited are also provided.

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