assurance. Such research offers the potential for significant advancement. Interaction with these research programs is a “two-way street”—both absorbing the technology and also influencing its direction. While there is some naval involvement in such programs, the committee observed a reluctance on the part of naval program managers. Incorporating research products into acquisition programs requires that the research products be matured (“hardened”). The naval services would have to allocate funds for this, which are perhaps best kept separate from the acquisition programs so they will not be absorbed for other purposes. Furthermore, explicit efforts to assess research programs to identify “low-hanging fruit” should be carried out.20
Utilize commercial technology as much as possible. The rapid advances in commercial communications and computing technology and their potential for reducing costs in military developments have been widely discussed. The individual findings and recommendations for the functional capabilities presented in Sections 6.3.1 and 6.3.2 noted the use of commercial technology several times. And even in cases where it is not explicitly noted, an examination of the functional capability shows wide use of commercial components in the makeup of the overall capability. Development of functional capabilities should give first priority to use of commercial technology, although it is recognized that there are situations where it is not able to meet the needs.