Defense Industrial Base:

Industry's Investment in the Critical Technologies

NSIAD-92-4: Published: Jan 15, 1992. Publicly Released: Jan 15, 1992.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed Department of Defense (DOD) contractors' independent research and development/bid and proposal (IR&D/B&P) efforts on DOD-designated critical technologies, focusing on: (1) contractor views regarding how a 1990 legislative change designed to promote critical technologies, develop dual-use technologies, and address environmental research would affect their IR&D/B&P programs; and (2) DOD efforts to monitor contractors' efforts.

GAO found that: (1) DOD does not gather information on whether contractors' IR&D/B&P expenditures address DOD critical technologies; (2) of 121 contractors surveyed, 92 reported they spent a total of $2.9 billion, or 50 percent, of IR&D/B&P expenditures on critical technologies; (3) contractors reported that most IR&D/B&P work was on near-term efforts aimed at designing, developing, or testing a new or improved product, as opposed to basic research; (4) 60 percent of the contractors indicated that the legislation would have little or no effect on their investments in critical or environmental technologies; and (5) 45 percent of the contractors believed that the law would have little or no effect on work related to dual-use technologies.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Office of Technological Assessment (OTA) is conducting an evaluation of the Department of Defense's Independent Research and Development Program to determine the extent to which contractors are executing projects that promote the critical technologies, develop dual-use technologies, and address environmental concerns. The OTA study may accomplish the intended objective of the recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should ensure that data, at least on IR&D programs, be routinely obtained to determine the extent to which contractors are executing projects that promote the critical technologies, develop dual-use technologies, and address environmental concerns.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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