Let me start by saying that I am a physicist and have been involved with many of the leading U.S. research facilities over the years — Los Alamos National Laboratory, Sandia Laboratories, just to name two. I also directed the Socrates Project under the Reagan administration. So the quick knee-jerk reaction to the title that “I don’t understand research and development or the value of technology” holds no water at all. Please don’t even try to argue this point.
Research and development (R&D) does not equate to a competitive advantage in the marketplace or on the military battlefield. Knowledge for knowledge’s sake is a worthwhile pursuit. Totally agree. But it is conceptually flawed and detrimental to the objective — being competitive — when companies and governments use the need to increase economic and military might as justification for higher expenditures on R&D. But yet this is the rapidly rising battle cry among the leading thinkers in Congress, the Pentagon, academia, think tanks, and the press — “Raise R&D funding levels, and America’s future will be secured.” How so far from the truth.
One highly critical set of decision makers who suffers from this R&D is the key to competitiveness thinking is the leadership in the office of the Secretary of Defense. But this was all avoidable.