Making Department of Defense Basic Research Purple (Joint), but NOT the Department of Defense Laboratories

Report No. ARL-TR-6762
Authors: Paul N. Barnes
Date/Pages: December 2013; 31 pages
Abstract: Fundamental research in the various services laboratories is divided into two categories for the Department of Defense (DOD): basic research (more exploratory, scientific basis orientated in nature) and applied research (more application-minded, engineering oriented in nature). DOD has conducted a number of studies over the years with a finding that basic research must be unfettered and better coordinated in the services. Early on in 1989, the Defense Management Review Decision (DMRD) 922 considered central management of all science and technology activities. However, some reports suggest an advantage of separate service laboratories is to ensure technology is developed toward the differing service needs. This report contends that syncing these two concepts will allow the most productive research with the greatest efficiency. This can be accomplished by separating out basic research from applied research; basic research activities should be made joint and the applied research should remain in the separate services. In general, the DOD laboratories remain with their respective services, but basic research becomes centrally managed. This report discusses the advantages and disadvantages of doing so, but ultimately the advantages outweigh the disadvantages of this realignment of research activities. The desired free-flow of information, establishment of world-class research, and trust in our premiere scientists are additional issues supporting this alignment in as well as the advantages discussed in this report.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: December 1, 2013