to more than $450 million (John Mansfield, NASA, personal communication, 1995).
The focus of ONR activity is improvement of the defense posture of the nation; therefore, much of the technology transfer effort is in direct support of that mission. The commercialization of ONR-developed technology is consequently dominated by defense industry participants.
There are mechanisms presently in place to facilitate domestic technology transfer. The question remains, however, “How well does the process work?” For a narrow range of industrial needs and a small number of technology areas, the process seems to function well. The connections with the defense industry are well-established and technology transfer occurs seamlessly. One way that ONR research and development is indirectly transferred to the nonmilitary sector is through the adoption of Navy specifications based on ONR-supported activities (e.g., marine vessel design) by engineers outside the Navy. In certain science areas (e.g., signal processing, acoustics, and materials) the results of ONR-sponsored research are well disseminated through published technical journals, conferences, and symposia. There remains, however, a sizable segment of industry that could use ONR technology for nonmilitary purposes but is poorly served by the present technology transfer process. ONR possesses significant technology that warrants commercialization (see Chapter 2), but the process for identifying and exploiting that technology is not effective.
The burden of transferring technology to the private sector falls heavily on the team leaders of the ONR divisions. These leaders are skilled, technically competent scientists with an excellent understanding of fleet needs. For knowledge of the potential industrial market for ONR products in the nonmilitary sector, ONR team leaders must rely on the Industrial Programs Department (ONR 36). ONR 36, however, makes insufficient effort to develop an understanding of the needs of nonmilitary users or to market the products of marine technology research. The department has focused more on obtaining technology than marketing or transferring ONR technology to the nonmilitary sector. This emphasis on obtaining technology has resulted in a decidedly one-way exchange of information. This arrangement is of little benefit in terms of informing the in-house scientists and managers (i.e., the individuals responsible for meeting the requirements of the various government mandates) about the technology needs of the nonmilitary, industrial sector.
In ocean science and technology, for example, a large segment of U.S. industry that could benefit from ONR-sponsored technology has little or no interaction with ONR. This segment includes both major corporations (e.g., Chevron USA and Amoco in the oil and gas industry) and small companies (i.e., companies with