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Defense Research Enterprise Assessment

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Technical Report

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Defense Science Board Washington United States

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In the era of technology globalization, the DoD laboratories and engineering and warfare centers the Labs continue to fulfill vital missions on behalf of the warfighter. The Labs traditional missions are defined as high quality science, technology transition, and smart acquisition. While these missions remain important and relevant, the rapidly changing technology and threat landscapes dictate the Labs should also adapt their missions to continue serving the warfighter this includes an expanded set of missions to focus on technology leadership, open innovation, and technology defense. The Labs are substantial enterprises housing over 40,000 scientists and engineers. They are big organizations and should adapt and transform in order to deliver on these new missions. Specifically, the Labs should ready themselves for their evolving missions by adapting operating models, culture, workforce, infrastructure, and the way in which they collaborate. This is not a trivial exercise due to the magnitude of the change and because the Labs exist in the broader defense system, which is not optimized for their operations. Congress has traditionally been a strong advocate and supporter for the Labs. Congress should continue working with the DoD to simplify the regulatory environment in which the Labs operate to give them the tools they need to succeed in this new environment

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