USD(R&E) Enterprise

The OUSD R&E organization is built around the NDS modernization priorities, and is composed of three major entities: Modernization (M), which serves as the chief steward for the priorities and works to set an overarching strategic technical direction. Research and Technology (R&T), which includes oversight of the labs, Federally Funded Research and Development Centers, University Affiliated Research Centers, and academic research, and Advanced Capabilities (AC), which accelerates and prototypes more mature technologies. AC also oversees the Department’s conduct of developmental test and evaluation, and investment in the associated range infrastructure through the Test Resource Management Center (TRMC).


Directorate of Research & Technology

Responsible for setting the strategic technical direction and investment strategy for DoD to ensure technical dominance on the battlefield, integrating DoD’s laboratory infrastructure, and providing stewardship of the technical community that conducts defense research.


Directorate for Modernization

Serves as the Department's chief steward and advocate for unifying and advancing the Department's investments and capabilities aligned with the National Defense Strategy's modernization priorities. Ensures that relevant DoD technical infrastructure, research, development, engineering, prototyping, and programs of record have alignment with the Road to Dominance, the concentrated effort to assure strategic competitive advantage.


Directorate for Advanced Capabilities

Recognizes, explores, and ensures the development and integration of new technology to maintain U.S. technological superiority. Responsible for establishing a Department of Defense joint mission engineering capability, oversight of developmental testing and test facilities as well as demonstration and validation of technology prototype and rapid fielding activities.

Section 901 of the FY17 NDAA re-established position of Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (USD R&E) for the first time since 1986, formally splitting the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics into two components. Our job is to shape the future force in such a forbidding manner that no adversary ever believes that today is the day they can confront America and win.


Test Resource Management Center

Is dedicated to ensuring DoD Components have the right Test and Evaluation Infrastructure to accomplish the mission. Done through the Central T&E Investment Program, T&E Science and Technology Program, Joint Mission Environment Test Capability (JMETC) Program,T&E Range Oversight Division, and Test and Training Enabling Architecture (TENA) Software Development Activity (SDA).

Supports efforts to mitigate new and emerging threat capabilities, enable affordable or extended capabilities in existing military systems, and developing technology through engineering.


Missile Defense Agency

Develops and deploys a layered Ballistic Missile Defense System to defend the United States, its deployed forces, allies, and friends from ballistic missile attacks of all ranges and in all phases of flight.

Public Domain 4848691
Photo by Mark Wright 
Missile Defense Agency
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A target missile was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility at Kauai, Hawaii during Flight Test Standard Missile-45. The USS JOHN FINN (DDG-113) detected and tracked the target missile with its onboard AN/SPY-1 radar using the Aegis Baseline 9.C2 weapon system. Upon acquiring and tracking the target, the ship launched an SM-3 Block IIA guided missile which intercepted the target.


Strategic Intelligence and Analysis Cell

Provides an operational, technical, and threat-informed analytic foundation for DoD investment decisions to restore technical overmatch to the Joint Force.

Identifies, evaluates, and purchases commercial innovation to solve national defense problems.


Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency

Is an advanced-technology branch of the U.S. Department of Defense. The purpose of the agency is to try out new technologies and make them operationally ready, and to reach beyond current military technology to do something new. DARPA continues to develop breakthroughs and capabilities in order to avoid and impose technological surprise.

Public Domain
Photo by David McNally 
Army Research Laboratory
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Dr. Courtney Webster makes adjustments to the Warrior Web physical augmentation suit from Harvard's Wyss Institute in Boston, Massachusetts. The research, funded by DARPA, and tested at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, holds great potential, officials said.

Roles and Responsibilities

The FY2017 NDAA outlines the powers and duties of the USD (R&E) to include:


  • Serving as the principal advisor to the Secretary of Defense on all research, engineering, and technology development activities and programs in DOD


  • Establishing policies on, and supervising and coordinating DOD’s research and engineering, technology development, technology transition, prototyping, experimentation, and developmental testing activities and programs, including through the allocation of resources for defense research and engineering


  • Serving as the chief technology officer of DOD with the mission of advancing technology and innovation for the military services and DOD