The technology world is accelerating at faster and faster rates – a development that has major implications for the U.S. defense establishment.
Historically, the Department of Defense (DOD) has emphasized internal research and development as the cornerstone of a military-technology strategy, but such an approach requires considerable time and money. There is another often-overlooked component of technology competitiveness, however, that has come to play an increasingly important role in the marketplace and on the battlefield. Applied innovation is the modification or integration of legacy and emerging technologies for new purposes. Today, the center of gravity for research and development is the global commercial marketplace, and the military-technology initiative is shifting to those organizations with the ability to build and exploit information asymmetries regarding the sources and uses of technology (i.e. arbitrage). In this context, technology itself is a commodity with value creation occurring through the rapid identification and deployment of novel applications that are greatly superior to legacy products and methods or what the venture capital community refers to as “killer apps.” More than ever before, DOD’s future technology edge will be predicated on its ability to sense and exploit these killer apps ahead of the threat.