Michael Brown, director of the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), said the federal government must bolster investments in research and development to keep pace with industry as well as adversaries like China, C4ISRnet reported Tuesday.
Brown said at a National Defense Industrial Association event that the private sector has “moved ahead quite dramatically” in technological development and that DIU is partnering with nontraditional contractors to help achieve military dominance.
He added that R&D efforts driven by federal funding provide benefits such as openness to risk-taking and longer-term investments.
“So if we want access to the leading technology for our military, we’ve got to be accessing the commercial world, and we’ve got to learn to be a fast follower,” said Brown.
Rep. Jim Langevin, D-R.I., said at the same event that federal funding for R&D has its payoffs. Langevin, who serves as chair of the House Armed Services Committee’s cyber, innovative technologies and information systems subcommittee, cited the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) COVID-19 research platform that supported U.S. vaccine development efforts.
“Defense-funded basic, early-stage and applied research helps us maintain our competitive edge on the battlefield, but also improves [civilians'] lives,” he noted.