The Insider

DASA(R&T): Army should look to existing technology for modernization

February 8, 2018 at 12:18 PM

(Editor's note: A previous version of this story gave an incorrect title for Thomas Russell. He is the former director of the Army Research Laboratory.)

The Army should first determine how existing technologies fit into its modernization goals before allocating money to new endeavors, according to the deputy assistant secretary of the Army for research and technology.

"It's not about disruptive technology," Thomas Russell said at a science and technology industry breakfast today. "You have to think about, what's the real impact on modernization?"

Russell said he tells those who ask him about budgets the Army "doesn't need any more S&T." Rather, the service should work on aligning its S&T program with its six modernization objectives before deciding it needs more money, he continued.

"The department is great at inventing things, we're just not very good at taking advantage of those inventions," he told Inside Defense.

Russell said he'd like to see more money in the Army's 6.4, or the technology maturation initiative. The 6.4 program element -- under research, development, test and evaluation -- funds the prototyping and demonstration of selected technology enabled capabilities to support advanced ground and aviation systems, precision weapons and soldier equipment.

Russell said the Army only designates about $1 billion to this effort, while other services spend much more. He said there may be an increase to the Army's 6.4 in the coming budget.