Accession Number:



Defense Technologies: DOD's Critical Technologies Lists Rarely Inform Export Control and other Policy Decisions

Descriptive Note:

Corporate Author:


Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



Technological advantage is fundamental to U.S. military dominance in 21st-century warfare. Major acquisitions in the Department of Defense Defenses DOD ongoing force transformation including manned and unmanned aircraft systems, networkcentric communications systems, and air and ground weapons rely on maintaining technological superiority. Failure to identify and protect critical technologies makes U.S. military assets vulnerable to cloning, neutralization, or other action that degrades current and anticipated capabilities. To help minimize these risks, DOD Dods Militarily Critical Technologies Program developed and periodically updates two lists of technologies the Militarily Critical Technologies List MCTL and the Developing Science and Technologies List DSTL each consisting of 20 sections. These lists are primarily intended to inform U.S. export control decisions, but can also help inform counterintelligence activities, research plans, and technology protection programs. As such, the MCTL and DSTL are considered fundamental to identifying technologies critical to national security that can help inform decisions to ensure U.S. technological advantage for the warfighter. Redefined national security threats, rapid technological advances, and increasing efforts by adversaries to gain access to U.S. military weapon system technology heighten the need to identify and protect militarily critical technologies. Given the importance of the MCTL and DSTL, you asked us to 1 assess the Militarily Critical Technologies Programs process for updating the MCTL and DSTL and 2 determine how the lists are used to inform export control and DOD policy decisions.

Subject Categories:

  • Information Science
  • Military Forces and Organizations

Distribution Statement: