Alan Shaffer: US Should Aim for ‘Enhanced Mutual Reliance’ Through Int’l R&D Collaboration

Alan Shaffer
Alan Shaffer

Alan Shaffer, assistant defense secretary for research and engineering — has highlighted the U.S. government’s efforts to collaborate with other countries on research and development initiatives in an interview with Defense News published Tuesday.

Shaffer spoke to reporter Aaron Mehta ahead of the nearly three-decade military and public sector veteran’s transition to NATO this summer for a new role as head of the alliance’s collaboration support office.

Shaffer told Defense News he plans to direct research and engineering efforts at NATO in an effort to help address current and future security threats and establish what he called “technology surprise” through advancements in quantum sciences, directed energy and hypersonics.

He also mentioned the creation of the phrase “enhanced mutual reliance” as part of the U.S.’ science and technology cooperation with Canada, the U.K., New Zealand and Australia under the Five Eyes intelligence alliance.

“What that means is that we try to look at a problem as it is going into late-scale development prototype and decide which nation is going to take the lead in a particular effort,” Shaffer noted in the interview.

Shaffer said he believes the practice will continue in the future as technologies become globalized.

“If we can spread and distribute that load so that we all end up with much less technical risk when we go to buy, it becomes a good deal for the taxpayer as well as allowing us to get the products quicker,” he added.

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