FIGURE 1-1 National Aerospace Initiative technology framework. ISR, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. SOURCE: Sega, 2003.

Examples of technologies and systems in each of the three pillars are shown in the figure. Implicit in the partnership between DoD and NASA is the goal of increasing the synergy and efficiency of the agencies’ combined programs in the three NAI areas.


The high-level, national goals of the NAI include renewing American aerospace leadership in the 21st century, pushing the space frontier further and faster with breakthrough aerospace technologies, revitalizing our critical aerospace industry, stimulating science and engineering in our classrooms, and enhancing our security, economy, and quality of life (DDR&E, 2003).

NAI goals for each pillar are stated as follows (DDR&E, 2003):

  • Hypersonics. Flight demonstrate increasing Mach number each year, reaching Mach 12 by 2012.

  • Space access. Demonstrate technologies to dramatically increase space access and reliability while decreasing costs.

  • Space technology. Leverage the full potential of space.

An NAI executive office with a director, leads drawn from both NASA and the DoD for the three pillars, and a small support staff have been established (Figure 1-2). The executive office acts as an advocate, facilitates collaboration, and develops goals, plans, and roadmaps in all three technology areas. The concept shown in Figure 1-2 is a work in progress; it has not yet been formally approved.

To go from the high-level goal statements for the initiative as a whole to project-level technology roadmaps, planning teams that included participants from the three military departments, NASA, and DDR&E staff were formed around the three NAI pillars (Richman, 2003a). The NAI

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