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Engineering in DOD

Military and civilian engineers share a unique mission within the Defense Department – to advance cutting-edge engineering technology, systems and practices in specializations that range from cyber and space to hypersonics and quantum science and more, all in support of the warfighter.



Research and Engineering Priorities

Microelectrionics icon; Microelectronics by Vectors Point from the Noun Project


As the demand for inexpensive and lightweight equipment has increased, microelectronics have rapidly evolved and have been incorporated into countless DOD systems. The ability to modernize is jeopardized by foreign microelectronics production, actions and investments. We must develop and deliver next-generation microelectronic technologies to enhance lethality, ensure critical infrastructure and achieve economic competitiveness.

Hypersonics icon; Sonic boom by ochre7 from the Noun Project


Hypersonic weapons travel five or more times the speed of sound. There is a focus on the tactical capability that these sorts of weapons bring to theater conflicts or regional conflicts. They provide very quick response and are high speed; highly maneuverable; and difficult to find, track and kill. DOD is modernizing its offensive and defensive force structure to both use and deter this capability.

Artificial Intelligence icon; Artificial Intelligence by ProSymbols from the Noun Project

Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning

The Defense Department will leverage artificial intelligence to enable U.S. forces to operate more effectively and efficiently. DOD is evaluating processes and procedures that can adopt AI technology to meet warfighter needs and defense priorities.

Biotechnology icon; vaccine by Studio GLD from the Noun Project


Biotechnology is any technological application that harnesses cellular and biomolecular processes. Most current biotech research focuses on agent detection, vaccines and treatment. Future advances in biotechnology will improve the protection of both the general public and military personnel from biological agents, among numerous other potential applications.

Quantum Science icon; atom by Kelsey Armstrong from the Noun Project

Quantum Science

Quantum computers pose an impending threat to secure communications, and continued U.S. dominance in quantum information science helps mitigate the risks. National Security Agency crypto-modernization will protect the most sensitive communications against a quantum computer attack. Quantum sensing will deliver new and assured precision position, navigation and timing capabilities, keeping our forces safe in GPS-denied theaters. Quantum networks will deliver drastically enhanced sensors for finding and fixing elusive targets and will deliver resource multiplying effects for commercially developed quantum computers to solve DOD's hardest analytical problems.

Autonomy icon; freedom by Adrien Coquet from the Noun Project


Autonomy extends and complements human capabilities. Advantages include persistence, size, speed, maneuverability and reduced risk to human life. The Defense Department targets seamless integration of diverse unmanned- and mixed-team capabilities that provide flexible options for the joint force.

Cyber icon; cyber security by Ladalle CS from the Noun Project


Cyber is a unique operational domain with significant security challenges and potential leap-ahead capabilities for military operations requiring enhanced command, control and situational awareness and autonomous operations. Ability to gain and maintain the U.S. technological edge in cyberspace in the face of rapid evolution is essential to maintaining mission readiness.

Directed Energy icon; laser by Shocho from the Noun Project

Directed Energy

When directed energy matures to a deployable capability, our armed forces will have the potential to defend against several types of threats with great precision and minimal collateral damage, at minimal cost per engagement. High Energy Laser, or HEL, technology development and advancements in hardware are making laser weapon systems increasingly viable.

Fully-Networked Command, Control and Communications (FNC3) icon; Communication by Arthur Dias from the Noun Project

Fully-Networked Command, Control and Communications (FNC3)

Fully Networked Command, Control and Communications technology encompasses the capability to acquire, process and disseminate information across force elements. DOD requires a clear path to robust Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence with multiple redundant, fully-networked communications. Existing capabilities require sufficient protection against an increasing threat in pervasiveness and effectiveness.

Space icon; Space by Made x Made from the Noun Project


The U.S. way of war, across all domains, is dependent on timely and assured space effects. Adversary capabilities and advancements require us to move quickly to a more defendable and resilient space posture. Added protection and resiliency to our current spacecraft fleet is essential.

5G icon; control tower by ChangHoon Baek from the Noun Project


5G will bring about wireless, ubiquitous connectivity across humans, machines and the Internet of Things. DOD will adapt 5G and next-generation technologies to operate through congested and contested spectrum and in spite of compromised networks to ensure maximum readiness, lethality and partnering among allies. 5G prototyping and experimentation will be conducted in collaboration with the defense industry and commercial suppliers to accelerate U.S. prominence in the 5G global ecosystem.


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