Finding: Coordination and planning of PTTI activities between the Services, with DARPA, and between DOD and other agencies is fragmented. Both internal and external guidance are needed.
Based on the committee’s data gathering and on its members’ experiences, there seems to be little coordination of PTTI research or development activities between the Services. Of particular concern is an apparent lack of the planning required to leverage advances at both the basic and applied levels to improve military system performance. Coordination between the Services and with DARPA would result in a quicker and more complete capture of the benefits that come from PTTI advances. Similarly, coordination between the DOD and other federal agencies with significant interest in PTTI technologies, such as NASA and NIST, could be strengthened.
The Department of the Navy, as the PTTI manager for DOD, currently has responsibility for coordinating the development of PTTI techniques among DOD components. Not only is PTTI broader than the Department of the Navy, it is also broader than any single Department of the Navy or DOD program. The committee could find no instance in which the PTTI program as a whole is regularly reviewed and no instances of previous external review. The committee is aware that the DOD PTTI manager convenes an annual review of advances in PTTI science; while this is useful, it does not replace review of the DOD strategy in PTTI. The committee believes that regular advice from external technical experts could help the Department of the Navy construct its investment strategy and address these problems of breadth and coordination.
Recommendation: The Director of Defense Research and Engineering (DDR&E) should coordinate PTTI research DOD-wide and develop an insertion plan to ensure that 6.2/6.3 advances in PTTI are transitioned into operational military systems. To help DDR&E and to ensure that the Navy’s responsibilities as PTTI manager are met, the Department of the Navy should convene regularly (at least annually) an outside, independent group of experts to address DOD needs in PTTI and opportunities in PTTI research.