Innovation Lagging in U.S. Defense Industrial Base

A recent report from the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) found that innovation is lagging in the U.S. defense industrial base.

According to the NDIA, innovation has declined sharply since 2018 driven by a substantial decline in average annual patent applications. Basic research investments have been stagnant leading to decline of new ideas in the R&D pipeline and an erosion of innovation overall. The report notes;

“The decreasing level of innovation inputs and outputs coming from scientific R&D services industries, typically focused on basic research, is a key driver of the overall decline in the innovation system.”

Vital Signs 2021, The Health and Readiness of the Defense Industrial Base

On the bright side, the U.S. share of global R&D investment ticked up in 2020 but the long term trend remains down. Also DoD innovation funding including research, development, testing, and evaluation (RDT&E) and concurrent SBIR funding have continued to increase since 2018.

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