Defense Innovation is the process in which new capabilities are provided to the nation’s warfighters to create or sustain an enduring advantage.  This includes categories such as novel or disruptive, iterative, and (capability) gap bridging innovation.  

The set of defense innovation organizations, activities, functions, and processes that develop, produce, and field new or improved technologies and capabilities for military use.  This includes all entities funded or in partnership with the Department of Defense such as FFRDCs, UARCs, MIIs, STRLs, PIAs, Software Factories, Consortia, CRADAs, TIAs, OTAs, grants and other ways such as the DARPA JUMP program.

The Defense Industrial Base is the worldwide industrial complex that enables research and development, as well as design, production, delivery, and maintenance of military weapons systems, subsystems, and components or parts, to meet U.S. military requirements. The Defense Industrial Base partnership consists of Department of Defense components, more than 100,000 Defense Industrial Base companies and their subcontractors who perform under contract to the Department of Defense, companies providing incidental materials and services to the Department of Defense, and government-owned/contractor-operated and government-owned/government-operated facilities. Defense Industrial Base companies include domestic and foreign entities, with production assets located in many countries. The sector provides products and services that are essential to mobilize, deploy, and sustain military operations. The Defense Industrial Base Sector does not include the commercial infrastructure of providers of services such as power, communications, transportation, or utilities that the Department of Defense uses to meet military operational requirements. These commercial infrastructure assets are addressed by other Sector Risk Management Agencies. 

Military R&D also known as military research and development provide the United States with the capability to produce technologies which are needed or may be needed to support the needs of National Security.  Military R&D mostly differs in that the market for military technologies has limited or unrealized potential for the commercial sector.

The use of technology in military systems to provide effective capabilities in the quantity and quality needed by the warfighter to carry out assigned missions. Technology transition can occur in multiple ways: a) Integrating technology into a DoD capability by starting a new program or program improvement plan, implementing new software on an existing system, or implementing a follow-on technology maturation program; b) Fielding a new capability; c) Transferring a technology from DoD into use in industry; d) Transferring a technology from DoD into use at another government agency. Examples: Conversion of a research and development program into a program of record, fielding a program of record, conversion of a prototype program supported by Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E) funds to a production capability supported by Operation and Maintenance (O&M) funds What is NOT a technology transition? a) Did not meet technical objectives, technology milestones, or a cancellation before completion b) Knowledge transfer or funded studies or assessments c) was not selected Suggested measurements: Why did a technology fail to transition? a) Transition partner desired a higher Technology Readiness Level (TRL)? b) Expected acquisition/sustainment costs too high 1) Feasible if production was scaled with commercial partner 2) Not feasible even with scaled production c) Acquisition risk too high (i.e. risk too high for cost/schedule/performance milestones) d) Partnership with contractor to deliver technology ended 1) Contractor went out of business 2) Contractor ended relationship 3) Foreign influence/ownership in Business e) No transition partner or enough commercial interest f) Insufficient funding/budget to transition 1) Selectable – not funded 2) Unfunded priority list (UPL) g) Shift in resources or priorities

Technologies that are both: a) complex and b) near or at full maturation in terms of yielding their potential in applicable systems, settings, and scenarios. Advanced technologies incorporate more recent scientific achievements and breakthroughs such that they deliver a significant or compelling competitive advantage. The term connotes greater development and understanding of the technology in question, and where/how it will affect the status quo in relevant circumstances. − Primary question: “How far along are we with developing this complex technology?” − Examples: ballistic missiles, microelectronics, radar.

Technology or technologies essential to the design, development, production, operation, application, or maintenance of an article or service that makes or could make a significant contribution to the military potential of any country, including the United States. These technologies are known to be of absolute necessity in terms of increasing or maintaining capability, efficacy, or advantage. The term connotes not only the need but also the potential vulnerability to denial of the technology in question, i.e., concern for protecting and ensuring the continued availability of said technology. This includes, but is not limited to, design and manufacturing know-how, technical data, software, keystone equipment, and inspection and test equipment. − Primary question: “How desperately do we need this technology?” − Examples: stealth materials, biotechnology, hypersonics, microelectronics.

Technologies that portend transformational change. The term is defined more by a matter of degree in change than by necessity to maintaining technological superiority or by proximity to practical realization and application. Disruptive technologies tend to provide an extended competitive advantage by presenting a competitor with a serious hurdle to overcome. Whereas advanced technologies tend to be significant “game improvers,” disruptive technologies tend to be “game changers.” – Primary question: “How much will this technology affect the status quo?” Stated another way, “Will this technology drastically alter the status quo?” − Examples: artificial intelligence, collaborative unmanned aerial system (UAS) swarms, biotechnology, hypersonics

Emerging technologies are characterized by a combination of factors, including that they: a) are early in their development; b) have the potential to develop or are developing rapidly; and c) are perceived to potentially alter the status quo in a transformational way even if how they will do so is not yet fully clear. The term thus could be a subset of disruptive technologies, with the subcategory further defined by the early stage of development and ambiguity around their ultimate effect, but not all emerging technologies are necessarily disruptive technologies. − Primary questions: o “How will this technology affect the status quo?” (Perception of potential without full clarity of realization/application) o “When will this technology affect the status quo? (Early stage and uncertainty of future pace of technological development) − Examples: novel materials, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, quantum information science