As the United States adjusts to the end of the Cold War, global competitiveness is joining military preparedness as a national goal. The federal government is striving to achieve the proper balance between defense and domestic spending; consequently, greater emphasis is being placed on maximizing return on federal investment in research and development. Any activity that leads to more productive use of U.S. research dollars leads to a healthier economy and strengthens the national defense. The Department of the Navy is therefore exploring the nonmilitary benefits of naval technology. As discussed in a report of the National Research Council’s Ocean Studies Board (OSB) Oceanography in the Next Decade: Building New Partnerships:
Economic prosperity in a global marketplace depends increasingly on technical and scientific applications. There is concern about the ability of the United States to compete with Europe and Asia. Basic and applied research in the marine sciences and engineering is necessary to achieve and maintain a competitive position in a host of fields, including marine biotechnology, aquaculture, hydrocarbon and mineral exploration and production, maritime transportation, fisheries, treatment and disposal of waste, and freshwater extraction. (National Research Council, 1992a, p. 3-4)
Effective military use of the considerable scientific and engineering resources represented by the Office of Naval Research (ONR), Department of the Navy, relies on adequate and timely transfer of research and technology to the fleet. To maximize the nonmilitary benefits of naval research, similar accomplishments must be achieved in domestic technology transfer.