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Maintaining Military Advantage Through Science & Technology Investment

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Maintaining Military
Advantage Through Science and
Technology Investment

Enhancing American security requires, first and foremost, developing and maintaining a strong defense capability of forces ready to fight.

  • A National Security Strategy of Engagement and Enlargement, 1995

National defense is fundamental to the President's National Security Strategy of Engagement and Enlargement. In pursuing its military strategy, the Administration faces the dual challenge of readying U.S. forces to address a more diverse set of threats while at the same time downsizing and restructuring our forces to respond to the defense needs of the 21st century. The Administration has launched a series of initiatives designed to capture and apply science and technology to respond to these challenges, focusing on the following objectives: supporting our military forces in the range of missions they can be assigned, reducing acquisition costs, and nurturing a healthy national science and technology infrastructure to spawn innovation and the vital industrial capacity to capitalize on it.

Science, Technology, and Military Strength

Our defense science and technology investment enables us to counter military threats and to overcome any advantages that adversaries may seek. It also expands the military options available to policymakers, including options other than warfare in pursuing the objectives of promoting stability and preventing conflict. Science and technology help to counter special threats such as terrorism that cannot be met by conventional warfighting forces, and they underpin the intelligence capabilities necessary to assess the dangers our nation faces. The U.S. military also relies on science and technology to make our advanced military systems more affordable through their entire life cycle. And by maintaining a close dialogue with the warfighters, the defense S&T community not only remains sensitive to user needs but also sensitizes the user to the possibilities that technology offers for responding to evolving threats.

U.S. military capabilities not only protect the United States and its citizens from direct threats, they also help maintain peace and stability in regions critical to U.S. interests and underwrite U.S. defense commitments around the world. Maintaining a strong defense capability means that the U.S. Armed Forces, and the Department of Defense more broadly, must be prepared to conduct the following kinds of missions, as described in the President's national security strategy:

  • Deterring and defeating aggression in major regional conflicts. U.S. forces must be capable of offsetting the military power of regional states with interests opposed to those of the United States and its allies. To do this, the United States must be able to deter and, if necessary, defeat aggression, in concert with regional allies, by projecting and sustaining U.S. power in two major regional conflicts that occur nearly simultaneously.
  • Providing credible overseas presence. Some U.S. forces must be forward deployed or stationed in key overseas regions in peacetime. These deployments contribute to a more stable and secure international environment by demonstrating U.S. commitment, deterring aggression, and underwriting important bilateral and multilateral security relationships. Forward stationing and periodic deployments also permit U.S. forces to gain familiarity with overseas operating environments, promote joint and combined training among friendly forces, improve interoperability with friendly forces throughout the world, and respond in a timely manner to crises.
  • Conducting contingency operations. The United States must be prepared to undertake a wide range of contingency operations in support of U.S. interests. These operations include smaller-scale combat operations, multilateral peace operations, noncombatant evacuations, counterterrorism activities, and humanitarian and disaster relief operations.
  • Countering weapons of mass destruction. While the United States is redoubling its efforts to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and associated missile delivery systems, we must at the same time improve our military capabilities to deter and prevent the effective use of these weapons. We are pursuing this objective by sustaining adequate retaliatory capabilities and by increasing our capabilities to defend against weapons of mass destruction, to locate and neutralize or destroy them before they are used during a conflict, and to fight in an environment in which such weapons have been used.

Finally, to meet all these requirements successfully, U.S. forces must be capable of responding quickly and operating effectively across a wide range of environments. That is, they must be ready to fight. Such high combat readiness demands well qualified and motivated people; adequate amounts of modern, well-maintained equipment; realistic training; strategic mobility; and sufficient support and sustainment capabilities.

The science and technology programs that support our military forces are conducted primarily by the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, and the Intelligence Community-with contributions from many other Federal agencies. The following strategy elements guide our overall science and technology investment:

  • Maintain technological superiority in warfighting equipment. Technological superiority underpins our national military strategy, allowing us to field the most potent military forces by making best use of our resources, both economic and human. It is essential for the United States to maintain superiority in those technologies of critical importance to our security.
  • Provide technical solutions to achieve the Future Joint Warfighting Capabilities. The Joint Chiefs of Staff have identified the warfighting capabilities most needed by our military in the future (see Future Joint Warfighting Capabilities"). Our S&T investment must be aimed at securing these needed capabilities.
  • Balance basic research and applied technology in pursuing technological advances. Today's basic research lays the foundation for tomorrow's innovative development. To make possible the greatest range of options and avoid technological surprise, we must apply resources broadly at the basic research level and make further investment decisions as emerging technologies reveal the most promising payoff areas.
  • Incorporate affordability as a design parameter. The cost of advanced technology systems must not be allowed to spiral upward uncontrolled. Affordability must be integrated into the design of military systems from the beginning, and improvements must be incorporated throughout their life cycle with the integration of new technology.

Defense Research and Engineering

The Defense Department science and technology program is organized to support the missions described in the National Security Strategy of Engagement and Enlargement. It is responsive to the warfighting requirements articulated by the Joint Chiefs of Staff as well as to the mission requirements of the military departments. The Director of Defense Research and Engineering is responsible for the direction, overall quality, and content of the Department of Defense science and technology program.

Basic Research Fields of Inquiry

Atmospheric and Space Science
Biological and Medical Sciences
Cognitive and Neural Sciences
Computer Sciences
Materials Science
Ocean Sciences
Terrestrial Sciences

The Department of Defense S&T program is organized into three categories: basic research, exploratory development, and advanced technology development. Basic research is the element of the S&T program that seeks to increase knowledge and understanding of science. It is the foundation on which future technological superiority is based. Twelve fields of inquiry, listed in the box at top right, compose the Defense Department's basic research program. The two other components, exploratory development and advanced technology development, make up the Defense technology program. This program is centered around the 19 technology areas listed in the box at lower right. The exploratory development program provides proof-of-concept experiments and evaluations built around models and laboratory experiments, while the advanced technology development program evaluates the effectiveness of technological advances in providing required military capabilities. In total, the three components that make up the program are highly interrelated, as sharp distinctions between research and development phases no longer apply.

Technology Areas for Exploratory
Development and Advanced

Aerospace Propulsion and Power
Air Vehicles and Space Vehicles
Battlespace Environments
Biomedical Applicationss
Chemical and Biological Defense
Individual Survivability and Sustainability
Command, Control, and Communications
Computing and Software
Conventional Weapons
Electronic Warfare and Directed Energy Weapons
Environmental Quality and Civil Engineering
Human Systems Interface
Manufacturing Science and Technology
Manpower, Personnel, and Training
Materials, Processes, and Structures
Modeling and Simulation
Surface/Under Surface Vehicles and Ground Vehicles

The defense science and technology program is planned and conducted by the military services and Defense agencies. The Departments of the Army, Navy, and Air Force train and equip the military forces and use the S&T program to provide warfighting options for their service components. The defense agencies are responsible for specified cross-service aspects of the overall program and execute designated programs in support of national security objectives. The Advanced Research Projects Agency is charged with seeking breakthrough technology and with investing in technologies that are referred to as "dual use" because they have both defense and commercial applications. The Director of Defense Research and Engineering, in collaboration with the military departments and other Defense agencies, prepares the Defense Science and Technology Strategy and a technology plan which describes the focus and content of the overall Defense technology effort, including goals, objectives, and schedules.

Priorities of the Department of Defense S&T Program

Information technology, sensors, and modeling and simulation are high priority S&T programs in the Department of Defense. Information technology and sensors have the potential to dramatically improve all aspects of future military capabilities, while modeling and simulation have already made major contributions to training, readiness, weapons design, and acquisition management. Together, these technologies can significantly reduce combat losses in lives and equipment.

Counterproliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction

In early 1995 the Counterproliferation Program Review Committee, chaired by the Secretary of Defense and composed of the Secretary of Energy (as Vice Chair), the Director of Central Intelligence, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, conducted a comprehensive assessment of U.S. activities related to countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. As a result of this assessment, the Secretary of Defense has taken measures to significantly strengthen Department of Defense science and technology efforts in counterproliferation to address shortfalls in U.S. operational capability.

Counterproliferation spans the spectrum of diplomatic activities and military operations. As a Department of Defense mission, it includes support of proliferation prevention and intelligence activities; deterring the use of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons; defending against such weapons and their effects; and maintaining a robust ability to find and destroy delivery forces and infrastructure elements with minimum collateral effects, should this become necessary.

In 1995, Congress provided $60 million to "jump-start" the counterproliferation program within the Department of Defense, and the Administration has requested $108 million for 1996. These funds are being used to accelerate development and deployment of essential military counterproliferation technologies and capabilities and to leverage existing Department of Defense investments relating to countering proliferation. The Defense Department has placed increased emphasis on detection technology, with a goal of accelerating by six years the deployment of biological and chemical agent remote detection and characterization systems. In addition, it is accelerating development of a new generation of hard target defeat and collateral effects prediction and mitigation capabilities, with the goal of demonstrating them within the next two years. The Department of Defense is also accelerating important proliferation prevention efforts such as initial 1996 fielding of enhanced capabilities to track nuclear, biological, and chemical related foreign shipments.

The Administration's continuing efforts in counterproliferation will focus on the identification and development of the most promising technologies for the detection and characterization of proliferation threats and for developing and providing capabilities to counter the spread of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons; their infrastructure; and associated delivery systems.

Information technologies have changed the battlefield. They enable better performance of current platforms, weapons, sensors, and people. Today, electronics and software add capability to almost every complex system. Information technologies are the basis for continual improvements in communications; intelligence gathering, analysis, and distribution; precision strike capability; platform control; sensor data processing; and human performance. Our troops depend on accurate and timely battlefield information. The ability to collect, integrate, analyze, and deliver this information efficiently and rapidly is critical to battlefield advantage. And because of the amount of tactical information available, a principal challenge is processing the data into meaningful forms for battlefield decisionmaking.

Beyond the battlefield, the management of enormous amounts of data related to logistic support is an increasingly important and demanding requirement. There is often too much administrative overhead associated with ensuring that equipment and supplies are on hand. Information technology programs offer the means to significantly reduce overhead and enhance efficiency by accounting for supplies via automated sensor and computer links. We are applying advanced computer software and systems and communication technology to the task of rapidly sorting through large quantities of data and presenting logistic specialists with information in ways that permit efficient operations and reduced errors. Technology is also needed to help ensure that no enemy can disrupt the information systems on which we depend.

We seek to preserve an information advantage over the adversary in all conflicts. Military forces need 24-hour all-weather surveillance. They need the ability to see through foliage and camouflage, under water, and through the earth's surface. They need the ability to track difficult targets such as cruise, antiship, and ballistic missiles as well as quiet submarines. They need the means to positively distinguish friend from foe in combat. The military also needs to know if and where weapons of mass destruction are being produced and in what quantity.

Our investment in sensor technologies is focused on providing these capabilities. The sensor technology program is broadly based. The United States invests in radar sensors that can detect ground targets concealed by foliage and camouflage; advanced acoustic, magnetic, and laser sensors to detect and locate submarines and mines in shallow water; and sensor technologies that might support detection of buried structures and mines.

Challenging requirements for sensors to aid in countering weapons of mass destruction must be met. First, the United States needs to be aware of the existence of facilities capable of creating nuclear, biological, or chemical materials. Second, the United States needs to monitor-typically at long distances-the output of such facilities and then track the movement and stockpiling of materials. Third, the United States needs better sensors to detect and identify the attributes of chemical and biological agents when released in the atmosphere or water. Last, the United States requires more accurate wideband radars, multispectral electro-optical sensors, and laser radars to detect ballistic missile launch, to target both cruise and ballistic missiles, and to discriminate missiles and reentry vehicles from chaff. Each of these priority needs is addressed in the President's 1996 budget.

Future Joint Warfighting Capabilities

The National Security Act of 1947, as amended (50 USC Sec. 401), which provided for the organization of the Department of Defense, vested the overall direction and control of defense research and engineering in the Secretary of Defense. The Joint Staff an and the Joint Requirements Oversight Council have identified five Future Joint Warfighting Capabilities most needed by our military. Those needs, coupled with technological opportunity, are used by the Director of Defense Research and Engineering to shape the defense investment portfolio.

The five Future Joint Warfighting Capabilities are as follows:

  • To maintain near perfect real-time knowledge of the enemy and communicate that to all forces in near-real time.
  • To engage regional forces promptly in decisive combat, on a global basis.
  • To employ a range of capabilities more suitable to actions at the lower end of the full range of military operations which allow achievement of military objectives with minimum casualties and collateral damage.
  • To control the use of space.
  • To counter the threat of weapons of mass destruction and future ballistic and cruise missiles to the continental United States and deployed forces.

A battlefield sensor is part of a larger system. It must perform within the constraints of that system. It is particularly stressing where there is a requirement for a very rapid military reaction to a sensed input; for example, to detect and target a closing sea-skimming missile, to detect and target a ballistic missile during boost phase, and to perform quick friend versus foe identification. The Defense S&T program seeks both incremental enhancements and breakthroughs in this area.

Modeling and simulation are powerful tools with myriad high payoff applications. We are using them in training, planning, and the employment of our forces. They also offer a cost-effective means of enhancing readiness. In addition, we are using modeling and simulation to expand the range of alternatives evaluated during concept formulation and as an aid to planning and setting priorities for the Defense Department's S&T investment. Modeling and simulation technology can augment the testing and evaluation of systems and hasten manufacturing with reduced cost. Simulations can be the basis for planning and decision aids to stretch the ability of commanders to train, to plan, and to employ their forces.

Information Technologies To Ready Our Forces-
Battlefield Digitization Technologies

Advances in information technologies contribute a growing array of strategic capabilities for our forces. New information technologies can provide high-resolution data about terrain, environmental, and tactical conditions that can be communicated to troops and their command instantaneously. One example of the application of these technologies is battlefield digitization.

Digitizing the battlefield is the application of commercial information technologies to acquire, exchange, and employ timely information throughout the battlespace, tailored to the needs of each commander, shooter, and supporter, allowing each to maintain the clear and accurate vision needed to support both planning and execution. Digitization allows the warfighter to communicate vital battlefield information instantly, rather than through slow voice radio and even slower liaison efforts.

The U.S. Army's strategy in digitizing the battlefield focuses Army technology efforts on applying commercial technology and developing critical military technologies. These include data compression; satellite-based communication and sensing; sensor and data fusion; advanced wireless communications; advanced lightweight, large-screen, high fidelity, and flat panel displays; multifunctional digital radios; microelectronics; and advanced distributed simulation.

Challenges remain in the areas of virtual reality; use of extant communications; linking simulations to real-world exercises on live ranges; variable resolution of simulated entities; realistic semiautomated forces; validation that a simulation performs as specified; verification that a model or simulation sufficiently represents reality; and accreditation of a model or simulation as a suitable basis for exploring a particular issue.

The Defense S&T program will continue to be broad-based, spanning all defense-relevant sciences and technologies. The military services will continue to field robust programs in service-specific technologies: the Army in terrestrial science and armor materials; the Navy in ocean geophysics and acoustic signature analysis; and the Air Force in atmospheric physics and aerospace vehicles and propulsion systems.

Science and Technology To Combat Terrorism

A continuing challenge to the security of our nation stems from the threat of international and domestic terrorism. Terrorists, whether from well-organized or loosely organized groups, have the advantage of being able to take the initiative in the timing and choice of targets. Terrorism involving weapons of mass destruction represents a particularly dangerous potential threat that must be countered.

Countering terrorism effectively requires close day-to-day coordination among many Executive Branch agencies, including the Departments of State, Justice, Energy, and Defense; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and the Central Intelligence Agency. Part of the challenge is to identify needs, seek common approaches, and coordinate the development of new technologies to counter terrorism. This is accomplished through the interagency Technical Support Working Group. Priority is given to projects that could be of use to more than one agency, such as portable X-ray machines. In addition, individual agencies conduct research and development for their own specialized needs. For example, the Federal Aviation Administration is developing improved aircraft cargo containers that can withstand explosive devices.

Within the past year, accomplishments include:

  • A Department of Energy-developed nonintrusive detection system for chemical agents was successfully used by the U.S. Army during a recent excavation in Washington, D.C., of sealed World War I-era canisters containing chemical substances originally intended for military purposes.
  • A detection agent for plastic explosives was developed and tested, an important step in support of the international Convention on the Marking of Plastic Explosives for the Purpose of Detection.
  • A portable briefcase-size X-ray system has been developed and is going into production for use in identifying potential explosives.

Additional projects under way include a "smart" detector for shielded nuclear materials; the development of enzymatic decontamination foam surfactants for rapid cleanup of chemical or biological agents; detectors for quickly identifying the presence of biological agents; and passive tagging systems and laser data relay systems to support enhanced surveillance and intelligence operations for counterterrorism purposes.

The U.S. Government is also cooperating with other nations in counterterrorist technology development. Work has begun with Britain, Canada, and Israel involving an initial set of 17 joint projects. This international effort will enhance the research efforts for both the United States and participating nations. Fighting terrorism is a goal we share with our allies and a mission that we can more effectively achieve by jointly applying resources and expertise.

Defense Programs in the Department of Energy

Nuclear Stockpile Stewardship

To reduce the global nuclear danger, the United States and Russia are implementing unprecedented arms reduction agreements by rapidly dismantling large portions of the U.S. and former Soviet nuclear arsenals. In 1992 the United States entered a moratorium on underground nuclear testing, halted the development and production of new nuclear weapons; and began closing portions of the weapons complex no longer needed to support the stockpile of the future. But the United States will continue to maintain nuclear forces of sufficient size and capability to deter nuclear attack against the United States or its friends and allies by any future adversary with access to strategic nuclear forces.

The Clinton Administration is committed to ensuring the safety, security, and reliability of our enduring nuclear weapons stockpile and has developed the science-based Stockpile Stewardship and Management Program to meet this national need. This technical program aims to maintain our high level of confidence in the safety and performance of our nuclear weapons as we pursue our arms control and nonproliferation objectives.

The Stockpile Stewardship and Management Program will give us the ability to respond to problems concerning the safety or reliability of the stockpile in a timely manner by maintaining our national expertise in nuclear weapons. The functions of the program are monitoring and evaluating the stockpile; modifying and repairing present weapon systems while ensuring full confidence in their operability; demonstrating manufacturing capability; certifying and recertifying the safety and performance of weapons; and most important, maintaining the competency base of nuclear weapons experts.

The new program changes the weapons stewardship paradigm from a large and expensive complex with excess capacity to a capability-based complex able to meet the requirements of the future stockpile. The nuclear weapons laboratories will assume more responsibility for production and remanufacturing capability in addition to their responsibilities for scientific understanding. Retaining the capability to rebuild our stockpile in a national emergency is an important condition to the consideration of further reduction in our active stockpile.

S&T Priorities for Defense Programs in the Department of Energy

The Stockpile Stewardship and Management Program is intended to gain an improved scientific understanding of age-related changes that might affect system safety or performance. Improved understanding of warhead behavior over time will be obtained from enhanced computational and experimental capabilities. Enhancements essential to computational simulations of nuclear weapon performance include a thousand-fold increase in computational speed and data storage; three-dimensional modeling of components; and increases in spatial resolution of models. Improved experimental capabilities will come from high resolution, multiple-time, multiple-view hydrodynamic experiments (dynamic radiography) and pulsed-power and laser-based experiments.

Development of advanced manufacturing and materials technologies will eliminate the need for large facilities and infrastructure. We are developing advanced manufacturing concepts for a smaller, agile production complex to produce replacement weapons components in small batch sizes in a timely, affordable, and safe manner.

The advanced manufacturing and materials technologies to be developed include computer-generated solid models of products; electronic information about materials properties; predictive computer models of manufacturing processes; and sensor-based adaptive process control of manufacturing.

Other research is aimed at continued improvements in the surveillance of the effects of aging on nuclear weapons. This will provide our scientists and engineers a more solid basis for anticipating, identifying, and solving new problems or remedying defects that may occur in the enduring stockpile as it ages. Enhanced weapons and materials surveillance technologies include predictive models based on materials science; nondestructive evaluation technologies to examine weapon components; and sensors built into stockpile weapons to monitor indicators of aging.

Tritium is required for all weapons in the enduring U.S. stockpile. Recycling tritium from dismantled weapons will satisfy stockpile requirements into the next decade, at which time some means of tritium production will be required. The Department of Energy is currently considering several production options, including accelerator; advanced light-water reactor; and modular high-temperature, gas-cooled reactor technologies.

Meeting the expected needs of the future will require upgrades of existing facilities and construction of some new facilities that have applications in scientific research and in strengthening the scientific understanding of weapons physics. Facilities will also be needed to allow for flexible manufacturing of materials and replacement components.

The Intelligence Community

The downsizing of the U.S. military force structure places a priority on the ability of the Intelligence Community to identify and understand emerging threats so that policymakers can rapidly develop effective responses. A critical aspect of this transformation has been a significant increase in reliance on intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance to provide decisionmakers and battle commanders dominant battlespace knowledge in a timely manner.

The strategic threat to U.S. national security has receded. However, this change in the strategic environment did not produce a more stable or less violent world. In fact, the change from a bipolar to a multipolar world increased the requirement for U.S. military forces to operate in nontraditional missions and continues to provide the potential for large-scale conventional force engagements.

The military strategy articulated by the Joint Chiefs of Staff addresses the full range of military operations on a global scale, and intelligence support to military operations must accommodate this diversity. Superior intelligence support during planning, deployment, sustainment, employment, and redeployment is needed to achieve national objectives and minimize risk to U.S. forces, our allies, and coalition partners.

Science and technology investments support advances in all phases of the intelligence process from collection through dissemination. Intelligence collection via human sources (HUMINT); from imaging satellites and aircraft (IMINT); from signals interception systems (SIGINT); from analysis of target signatures (MASINT); and from open-source reporting is integrated to support all-source analysis of potential crisis situations and active military engagements. These science and technology investments cover technologies ranging from information processing to new generations of sensors for specialized collection systems to high-performance algorithms for data processing and exploitation.

In the coming years, as a result of the global technology explosion, the Intelligence Community faces both threats and opportunities-threats resulting from the worldwide proliferation of information processing and communications technologies, and opportunities resulting from the rapid advances in these and other technologies in the commercial marketplace. Now more than ever, well-planned S&T investments will position the Intelligence Community to provide timely, comprehensive, and detailed intelligence support to the U.S. warfighter.

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National Security Science & Technology Strategy -Table of Contents

President's Letter

Executive Summary

National Security Science & Technology Strategy - Introduction

Maintaining Military Advantage Through Science & Technology Investment

Carrying Out the Defense S&T Mission

New Ways of Doing Business

Controlling Arms & Stemming the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction

The Role of S&T

Meeting the Challenge of Global Threats

Policy Response

Strengthening Economic Security