The Difference Between DOD Programs That Develop Dual-Use Technologies and DOD's Dual-Use Technology Development Programs--A Fact Sheet

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The Difference Between DOD Programs That
Develop Dual-Use Technologies and DOD's
Dual-Use Technology Development Programs
— A Fact Sheet
John D. Moteff
Specialist in Science and Technology
Science Policy Research Division
This fact sheet makes a distinction between DOD programs that develop dual-use
technologies and DOD's "dual-use" technology development programs. The distinction
is more than semantic and is worth noting as Congress considers non-defense expenditures
in DOD's budget. Many of the technologies and much of the knowledge generated by
DOD's traditional Science and Technology (S&T) programs could be considered dual-use
(e.g., programs in the sciences, materials, electronics, computers, design methods,
manufacturing methods, software engineering). DOD has been supporting many of these
programs for decades. "Dual-use" programs, on the other hand, are those S&T programs
that explicitly attempt to leverage the commercial sector's investment in those same
technologies. These programs are relatively new, initiated at the behest of Congress. A
program that develops dual-use technologies is not necessarily a dual-use program, even
if they develop the same technology. Dual-use technology programs typically involve
consortia that include commercially oriented firms. The research agenda is negotiated with
industry and aims to address the common needs of both the commercial and military
sector. Industry cost-shares the project. The "agreements" are negotiated outside the
federal regulations for grants or contracts. This is particularly important because it frees
firms from having to provide specified cost-and-accounting data and allows more flexibility
in negotiating technical data rights (both of which have discouraged some commercially-
oriented firms from doing business with DOD in the past). The projects also tend to
address technologies and technical issues with relatively near term application (there is less
commercial interest in long term exploratory research). In traditional DOD-supported
S&T programs, DOD defines the research to be done based solely on DOD's needs. Data
rights, etc. are specifically spelled out in regulations. If DOD pays for all of the research,
it gains unlimited rights to the data. Participants tend to be organizations dedicated to
military production or small start-up firms, whose first customer is likely to be DOD, or
defense laboratories.
The push for dual-use technology development programs came from Congress.
Citing the relative decline in DOD's share of the Nation's research effort from over 50%
following World War II to 25% today, the apparent lead that commercial markets have

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attained in certain technologies (e.g., electronics, communications), and the prospect of
a long-term decline in defense spending, Congress sought to encourage DOD to leverage
the commercial sector's investment in those area of mutual interest. In the FY1989
Defense Authorization Act (P.L. 100-456), Congress required DOD to begin submitting
critical technologies plans. The plans were to include a discussion of how DOD intended
to leverage commercial investment in those technologies. In the FY1990 Defense
Authorization Act (P.L. 101-189), Congress granted the Advanced Research Projects
Agency (and later the Services) the authority to enter into "other transactions" or
partnerships with commercially oriented firms and consortia to encourage DOD to
leverage commercial investment. It is this "partnering" authority that was used to establish
numerous dual-use programs (e.g., Advanced Materials Partnerships, Advanced1
Manufacturing Partnerships, Manufacturing Extension).
The confusion between dual-use technology development programs and programs
that develop dual-use technologies began in 1992 when Congress passed the Defense
Conversion, Reinvestment, and Transition Assistance Act. The Act identified a number
of dual-use programs mentioned above and a couple new ones (i.e., Dual-use Extension
Assistance, Commercial-Military Integration programs) as a core of programs available
to help assist firms convert from military to commercial production (DOD managed these2
disparate programs via the Technology Reinvestment Project, TRP). The appropriations
bill that year suggested that conversion funds be used to support other programs that
develop dual-use technologies. These included programs developing high performance
computing, infrared focal plane arrays, high temperature superconductors for electronics,
multi-chip modules, optics, batteries (totaling, at the time, about $305 million), many of
which were traditional DOD technology programs. The next year, the Clinton
Administration's budget for conversion included some of the same traditional programs
mentioned by the appropriators (totaling $353 million). The FY1994 authorization Act
included such programs as DOD's Software Initiative, Computing Systems and
Communications, Experimental Evaluation of Major Innovative Technology, Materials and
Electronics, Defense Research (raising its stated conversion investment $2.2 billion). The
FY1994 appropriations Act included yet a different list including Advanced Simulation,
Intelligence Systems/ Software, and High Definition Systems (raising its stated conversion
investment $1.2 billion). However, these programs were still managed as traditional
As a result of their association with the more controversial dual-use programs and
with conversion, a number of DOD's traditional programs that develop dual-use
technologies became vulnerable to budget cuts.

1 The partnership model was fashioned after the Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology
(SEMATECH) Consortium, begun in 1987. Although SEMATECH could be viewed more as an
effort by DOD to "save" a segment of the commercial electronics industry rather than a way to
leverage commercial investment, the program became a model for the generation of "dual-use"
programs that followed.
2 For more information on the TRP and the issues surrounding it, see DOD's Technology
Reinvestment Project (TRP): Friend or Foe? CRS Report No. 95-86SPR. by John D. Moteff. Jan.

6, 1995. 6p.