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Materials Needs and R&D Strategy for Future Military Aerospace Propulsion Systems
to propulsion materials needs, advances, technology readiness, and the potential systems payoffs of technology insertion.
Recommendation: To maintain or regain the U.S. military competitive advantage in the areas of propulsion materials and to keep the United States on the leading edge of propulsion technology, there is a need for advocacy within the Office of the Secretary of Defense/Director, Defense Research and Engineering, to increase activities in new materials development and competitive 6.2 component and 6.3 demonstrator programs.
Recommendation: The U.S. State Department should reformulate the ITAR fundamental research exclusion to encompass all such research whether performed in academia, industry, or government. This exclusion should also apply to fundamental research activities encompassed within larger research programs that contain other ITAR-controlled elements.
Recommendation: DOD funding agencies should identify and support, both financially and through regulatory and administrative relief, opportunities for pre-competitive collaborative research for structural propulsion materials, both domestically and with global partners.
Recommendation: For the special case of pre-competitive research with global partners, the DOD, the Department of State, and other U.S. government entities, including the Department of Commerce, should proactively encourage such pre-competitive research opportunities and develop ways to facilitate knowledge transfer within wide, acceptable boundaries.
Recommendation: The research activities of the Air Force Office of Scientific Research should tie more closely to AFRL propulsion materials needs so as to provide a path to insertion. Together the AFOSR and the AFRL should develop a research portfolio that covers a wider range of near-, mid-, and far-term needs.
Recommendation: The United States should continue to develop computational methods to shorten materials development time and to reduce the time required for testing and materials validation so as to reduce the risk related to insertion of new materials.
Recommendation: The Air Force should fully implement the R&D strategy that it develops, and it should reevaluate its strategy annually.