The Department of Defense (DoD) relies on the technological superiority of its weapon systems and armed forces to protect US interests at home and abroad. This technological superiority is being challenged by new and evolving threats constantly being developed by potential US adversaries. To counteract these challenges, DoD’s science and technology (S&T) community is charged with identifying and maturing new technologies and making them available to DoD’s acquisition community for integration into weapon systems. The DoD conducts research, development, testing, and evaluation (RDT&E) in support of its mission requirements. The work funded by these appropriations plays a central role in the nation’s security and global S&T leadership. The DoD does not limit its development focus solely on weapon systems, however; it also researches advances in several arenas, such as intelligence collection, cybersecurity, medical, hypersonics technology, robotics, communications, artificial intelligence, directed energy, and quantum computing. This diversity is the essential strategy that has made the United States a superpower, and provides opportunities for a large number of commercial players to collaborate with the DoD.

This research service delivers an overview of the US defense S&T research market through keen analysis of US defense RDT&E spending. Through this effort, readers will gain insight about key defense programs being initiated or in progress, and how the service components are investing or planning to invest to modernize current systems and develop new ones. Several growth opportunities will be emphasized that may have a significant impact on those attempting to enter or already participating in US defense markets.

Spending data is based specifically on the most current defense budget request for fiscal year 2020. Market segmentation for this research is performed by focusing on the individual phases of the defense RDT&E process, which are basic research, applied research, advanced technology development, advanced component development and prototypes, system development and demonstrations, and operational system development.

Fiscal year 2018 is used as a base year for spending forecasts and competitive analysis because it is the most recent complete fiscal year of awarded contracts that could be obtained during this effort.

Key Issues Addressed
  •     How much is being spent in the defense S&T market?
  •     What major programs are receiving the most funding?
  •     How is the market segmented?
  •     Does any particular segment acquire more funding than others?
  •     What drives or restrains defense S&T market activity?
  •     Which military service leads the defense S&T market through RDT&E spending for the 2018–2024 research period?
  •     What are some of the top programs for each service?
  •     Are there any growth opportunities for companies in the S&T market?
  •     Which segment offers the best chance to break into the market?