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What region is most likely to shape the military conflicts of the near future? Is it China, or the Middle East? North Korea? Maybe Russia?

Try Silicon Valley.

On today’s battlefields, the Department of Defense (DoD) must contend not only with the friction and fog of tactical engagements, but also with the complexities of a threat environment in constant technological flux. Against this backdrop, innovation fueled by commercial market forces in places like Silicon Valley has come to play an increasingly decisive role. Recognizing the opportunities and challenges of the contemporary innovation environment, the DoD Information Analysis Centers (IACs) are undertaking a new initiative called Technology Domain Awareness (TDA), which uses knowledge of the global technology commons to create a resilient defense technology enterprise that fully incorporates the high tech outputs of the commercial marketplace. In this first of three articles, we explore the underlying factors and goals underwriting the TDA mission to develop a robust defense innovation base that cooperatively aligns the non-defense research and development (R&D) marketplace with emerging defense capability needs. The second and third articles will respectively address the TDA business process and the ways in which TDA complements the defense acquisition system, leading to a more effective, efficient and adaptive defense innovation posture.

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