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Keeping the Technological Edge

June 26, 2015 • 9:00 – 10:30 am EDT

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Leveraging Outside Innovation to Sustain the Department of Defense's Technological Advantage

The Defense-Industrial Initiatives Group at CSIS rolled out the final report of a study, on how the Department of Defense can continue to better leverage outside innovation from non-traditional sources.

A strong internal DoD R&D program remains a necessary foundation for maintaining military technological dominance and driving innovation in many areas of technology, but it is no longer sufficient for ensuring future DoD technology superiority. In the current global innovation environment, DoD needs to be able to harness innovations in technology and process regardless of whether those innovations come from DoD funding, U.S. defense industry investments, or the global commercial marketplace. In order to ensure that DoD can keep the technological edge on the modern battlefield, it must improve its ability to identify and acquire innovative technologies developed outside its traditional sources, and leverage this technology, along with technologies developed in DoD’s traditional sphere of action, to produce capabilities that remain at least one step ahead of potential competitors.

DoD is not ignorant of this challenge--both Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and his predecessor Chuck Hagel have raised the profile of this problem set, most recently with Secretary Carter’s speech in Silicon Valley. The CSIS study on Leveraging Outside Innovation builds on that foundation by working to identify and assess steps that DoD can take to better harness the global profusion of defense-relevant technology for national security needs.


Andrew Hunter 
Director, Defense-Industrial Initiatives Group and Senior Fellow
International Security Program, CSIS

Brett Lambert
Vice President, Corporate Strategy 
Northrop Grumman

Dr. Arun Seraphin 
Professional Staff Member 
U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services

Dr. Camron Gorguinpour 
Director of Transformational Innovation 
U.S. Air Force


Peter Newell 
Managing Partner 
BMNT Partners